NATIONAL team coach Chot Reyes named the final 12-man line-up for the Philippines’ upcoming campaign in the 2017 FIBA World Cup Qualifiers.
As expected, naturalized import Andray Blatche leads the pack.
He will be joined by seasoned Gilas veterans June Mar Fajardo, Jayson Castro, Japeth Aguilar, Calvin Abueva, Gabe Norwood and Troy Rosario along with young guns Matthew Wright, Allein Maliksi, Kiefer Ravena, Roger Pogoy and Kevin Alas.
Reyes announced his final roster around lunch time yesterday.
These 12 will represent the country in its fight against Japan today. However, the line-up per game can change.
Any of them can suddenly be inserted into the game against Chinese Taipei back home on Monday or the succeeding games in this home-and-away tournament format.
The final cuts were Raymund Almazan, Carl Bryan Cruz and Mac Belo.
According to Reyes, they all took the decision professionally, understanding the needs of the team against its Asian counterparts.
Meanwhile, LA Tenorio, Terrence Romeo, and Rookie of the Year Pogoy lead the initial list of awardees to be honored during the 24th PBAPC Awards Night next week at the Gloria Maris Restaurant inside the Gateway Mall in Cubao.
Tenorio will be the recipient of the Order of Merit honor, Romeo is the Mighty Sports Scoring Champion anew, while Pogoy banners the All-Rookie team to be feted by the group of sportswriters, who regularly covers the PBA beat.
The Order of Merit is given out to the individual who had the most number of Player of the Week honor handed out by the PBAPC. The Barangay Ginebra veteran point guard was named four times during the course of the league’s 42nd season.
Romeo, meanwhile, submitted a PBA-best 23.3 points average per game to emerge anew as the top local scorer last year. The Globalport gunner is the scoring champion for the third straight season, and the first player to do so after Gary David did it four straight times (2010-13).
Pogoy, last season’s best rookie playing for TnT Katropa, leads the year’s All-Rookie team to be recognized during the affair presented by Cignal. The Gilas stalwart shares the honor with Matthew Wright (Phoenix), Jio Jalalon (Star), Kevin Ferrer (Barangay Ginebra), and Reden Celda (KIA).
The highpoint of the awards night is the presentation of the Virgilio ‘Baby’ Dalupan Coach of the Year award held in honor of the prodigious late mentor, who scored the league’s first ever grand slam with Crispa in 1976.
Also on tap are the Danny Floro Executive of the Year award named in behalf of the former Crispa team owner and the Bogs Adornado Comeback Player of the Year being held in honor of the league’s former three-time MVP and part of the PBA’s 25 Greatest Players.
Other awards to be given are the Mighty Sports Defensive Player of the Year, Mr. Quality Minutes, All-Interview team, and the PBAPC’s first ever Game of the Season award.
Part of the program will be the official launch of the PBAPC Facebook page.