SEVERAL marquee players selected for the FIBA World Cup-bound Gilas Pilipinas national men’s 21-player pool were not available when the team began practicing Wednesday evening at the Meralco Gym.
Utah Jazz star Jordan Clarkson for instance will be available to the team six weeks before the FIBA tournament, to be hosted by the Philippines, opens on Aug. 25.
NBA prospect, Kai Sotto, meanwhile, is in the United States hoping to play in the NBA Summer League next month.
Junemar Fajardo, RR Pogoy and Japeth Aguilar, on the other hand, are still recovering from injuries and won’t be able to join the team anytime soon.
Life goes on, however, for members of the Gilas pool as they eventually move over to the INSPIRE Sports Academy in Calamba in the coming days.
After this, they will go through a European training camp and play friendlies against several European national teams and clubs.
Clarkson, Justin Brownlee and Ange Kouame, three naturalized players, are among the top candidates named to the pool, where the final 12 will come from.
Others in the pool are University of Toledo Rockets’ center AJ Edu and Philippine Basketball Association cagers, namely Ginebra’s Jamie Malonzo and Scottie Thompson; Meralco Bolts’ Chris Newsome; San Miguel Beermen’s CJ Perez; and TNT Tropang Giga’s Poy Erram, Calvin Oftana.
Kiefer and Thirdy Ravena, Jordan Heading, Ray Parks Jr. and Dwight Ramos, all playing in the Japan B. League, also made the cut.
On the other hand, Rhenz Abando is taking his time off from playing for Anyang KGC in the Korean Basketball League and has made himself available.