Next month, 32 countries will send their men’s national basketball teams to China, where from the last day of August until the middle of September they will battle it out on hard-courts across 8 venue cities for global basketball supremacy under the auspices of the International Basketball Federation (FIBA). Not only is national pride on the line, but also a chance to qualify their teams for another international event, the 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympics next year. The Philippines’ own GILAS is looking to go as far as it can in this FIBA World Cup to make up for losing its 2019 hosting bid to China.
According to CNN Philippines, it appears Gilas Pilipinas has gotten its player pool for the FIBA Basketball World Cup finalized. On Monday, July 15 the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) listed 19 names on the pool, all top players from most PBA teams and some heavy-duty import talent. One name in particular stands out, that being of half-Filipino NBA player Jordan Clarkson. The SBP has been coy on whether or not they have secured the current Cleveland Cavalier for another national-team outing following his 2018 Asian Games participation, where he secured for the Philippines its highest finish in 16 years by beating Syria for fifth.
The rest of the names in the Gilas pool for the Basketball World Cup are as follows: Andray Blatche (currently with the Tianjin Gold Lions of the Chinese Basketball Association), PBA mainstays Japeth Aguilar (Ginebra), Raymond Almazan (Meralco), Mark Barroca (Magnolia), Robert Bolick (NorthPort), John Paul Erram (NLEX), June Mar Fajardo and Marcio Lassiter (San Miguel). Then there are Paul Lee (Magnolia), Gabe Norwood (Rain or Shine), C.J. Perez (Columbian), Roger Pogoy and Troy Rosario (TNT), Kiefer Ravena (NLEX), and Matthew Wright (Phoenix). A majority of them are national team and FIBA World Cup veterans, joined by newcomers Beau Belga (Rain or Shine), Stanley Pringle (Ginebra) and Christian Standhardinger (San Miguel), as listed by SBP.
Reaction to the Gilas Pilipinas player pool on the SBP’s official Twitter page has been cautiously positive. There are some questions as to why other PBA notables like Terrence Romeo and Bobby Ray Parks Jr., as well as concerns about Jordan Clarkson’s import playing status with regards to the NBA. But with the 19 names on the list, forming a final roster for the national team will not be too troublesome. Gilas is bracketed in Group D, facing Serbia, Angola and Italy for its initial foray into the 2019 FIBA World Cup, happening in China August 31 to September 16.
Image courtesy of ABS-CBN News