Gilas Pilipinas coach Yeng Guiao formally started its training for the fifth window of the FIBA World Cup qualifiers later this month at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City.
By Waylon Galvez of MANILA BULLETIN Sports
A total of 12 players showed up from the 20-man training pool named by Guiao last week upon the approval of both the PBA and the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) for the two games in the qualifiers.
The national team plays hosts Kazakhstan on November 30 and Iran on December 3.
Present on the first of practice session for the fifth window on Monday night at the Meralco gym in Quezon City were June Mar Fajardo, Marcio Lassiter, Alex Cabagnot and Arwind Santos of San Miguel Beer, Beau Belga and Gabe Norwood of Rain or Shine, Jayson Castro and Troy Rosario of TnT KaTropa, Poy Erram of Blackwater and Matthew Wright of Phoenix Fuel.
Gilas cadets Kai Sotto and Ricci Rivero were also present in the training session.
“I’m just blessed to be part of the training pool,” said the 7-foot center Sotto, 16, who is in the men’s pool for the first time.
SMB’s Christian Standhardinger and North Port’s Stanley Pringle – both naturalized as per FIBA status – failed to join the first day of training.
Six other players missed the first day. Greg Slaughter, LA Tenorio, Japeth Aguilar and Scottie Thompson of Barangay Ginebra San Miguel, as well as Paul Lee and Ian Sanggalang of Magnolia Hotshots Pambansang Manok, were since the two teams are playing in a semifinal series in the PBA Governors’ Cup.
The Philippine Team is currently at the third spot in Group F with a 5-3 record behind Australia’s 7-1 card and Iran’s 6-2 slate, and ahead of 4-4 Japan, 3-5 Kazakhstan, and 2-6 Qatar.
Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) president Al Panlilio also dropped by at the gym with Antipolo City Cong. Robbie Puno as he spoke briefly to the players during a meeting prior to the scrimmage.
“We’re happy to see the players who were called to serve the country. This only shows the commitment they have to play for the national team. Again, we believe that this is the strongest roster we have for the training pool, and we’re again thankful to the PBA and the teams for the support they are giving to the SBP and the national team,” said Panlilio.
This story was originally published in MB Sports Online.
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