By JONAS TERRADO
Gilas Pilipinas coach Chot Reyes is not ruling out the possibility of adding some players for the upcoming Group A window of the FIBA World Cup Asian Qualifiers at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Reyes didn’t specify if the possible inclusions will come from the PBA, amateurs or those based abroad, but added that all options remain open as Gilas continues to prepare for the matches against South Korea, India and New Zealand.
“We want to keep our options open because we still have a few days before we’re asked to submit our lineup,” Reyes said during the virtual session of the Philippine Sportswriters Association Forum.
What’s clear at the moment is that Gilas will feature a mixture of players left from its pool plus a few players from TNT which was approved recently by the PBA Board of Governors.
Among the prominent national pool members who joined the recent TNT/Gilas training bubble were naturalized player Ange Kouame of Ateneo, Dwight Ramos of the Toyama Grouses in Japan’s B.League and Juan Gomez de Liano.
On the TNT side, Reyes said that RR Pogoy, Troy Rosario and Poy Erram are obvious shoo-ins for the upcoming window with a few others being considered.
Reyes would have liked to get the services of Carl Tamayo and Justine Baltazar, but their UAAP teams University of the Philippines and La Salle declined to release them due to the preparation for the collegiate season.
“The team is a work in progress,” Reyes said in the session presented by presented by San Miguel Corporation (SMC), Philippine Sports Commission (PSC), Philippine Olympic Committee (POC), MILO, Amelie Hotel Manila, Unilever, and the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR). “Right now, we’re making due with what we have at dinagdagan natin ng TNT players kaya wala pa kaming final determination on who is going to play in the window.”
Gilas will take on rival South Korea on Feb. 24 followed by India on the following day before wrapping up the window with a clash against New Zealand on Feb. 28.
The current setup will only be done for the February window before Reyes sets out a plan on the pool for the rest of the qualifiers and the 2023 World Cup.