MANILA, Philippines – Nineteen players will vie for a spot for Gilas Pilipinas in the 2019 FIBA World Cup.
The Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) on Monday, July 15, unveiled the 19-man pool for the global hoops showdown that includes Andray Blatche, June Mar Fajardo, Kiefer Ravena, and NBA player Jordan Clarkson.
Blatche and Fajardo could play in the second straight World Cup after seeing action in the 2014 edition, while Ravena is expected to make his debut in the quadrennial meet following the exit of veteran playmaker Jayson Castro.
On the other hand, the Filipino-American Clarkson was added in hopes that he will be allowed by FIBA to suit up as a local, and if not, instead serve as a backup naturalized player to Blatche.
Also part of pool are national team mainstays Japeth Aguilar, Gabe Norwood, Roger Pogoy, Marcio Lassiter, Paul Lee, Mark Barroca, Matthew Wright, Poy Erram, Raymond Almazan, and Troy Rosario.
Completing the pool are Beau Belga, Stanley Pringle, Christian Standhardinger, CJ Perez, and Robert Bolick.
Belga joined the national team in practice initially only as a warm body but has since been training with the squad regularly.
Pringle and Standhardinger, meanwhile, both have represented the country in the fifth window of the World Cup qualifiers last year as naturalized players.
The pool will be then be shaved to 12 players, who will face Serbia, Italy, and Angola in the first round of the World Cup that will kick off in multiple cities in China starting on August 31.
Before flying to China, the Philippine team will play a series of tuneup games in Spain and will face the Adelaide 36ers in a friendly match in August. – Rappler.com