By JONAS TERRADO
Gilas Pilipinas coach Tab Baldwin said there’s still a possibility that the roster for the FIBA Asia Cup in Jakarta, Indonesia could be different from the one that will compete in the upcoming Olympic Qualifying Tournament.
Baldwin said he’s not ruling out the addition of PBA players or those currently based abroad like Thirdy Ravena of Japanese pro club San-En Neophoenix or University of Toledo big man AJ Edu going into the Asian competition set Aug. 14 to 28.
“We still don’t know the exact content of the team,” Baldwin said in a recent interview with One Sports’ The Game. “I’m sure that many of these players, if not all of them, will carry over into the roster there.
“But there is possibility — and I don’t have any updates on anything — but there’s still the possibility of PBA players. There’s still the possibility of AJ Edu or Thirdy Ravena or Dalph Panopio (Gilas Youth player) or other players being added.
“I don’t know if these guys will make the roster, if they can get into training but there are still some moving pieces,” added Baldwin.
Gilas will field a 12-man roster based on the pool of players that competed in last week’s FIBA Asia Cup Qualifiers for the July 1 match against Serbia and the July 2 meeting with Dominican Republic in Group A of the OQT.
The team is due to arrive Friday, June 25 in Belgrade, Serbia after a lengthy flight that included a brief layoff in Istanbul, Turkey.
Preparation for the Asia Cup will follow the OQT where things could likely be a bit tougher than the recent qualifiers. Still, significant progress is something Baldwin wants to harp on.
“Going into the Asia Cup, it’s gonna be about continuing this process and striving to win games but to take as many lessons as we can so we can apply it to teams that play in this OQT,” he said.
“This is the level that we wanna be at, the Australias, the Frances, the Spains, the USs, the Brazils and the Argentinas.
“This is the level that we wanna be respected at, and every effort that we make is to get us there.”