Professional players from the Philippine Basketball Association will sit it out the coming FIBA Asia Cup qualifiers at the end of the month in Manama, Bahrain.
Samahang Basketball ng Pilipinas president Al Panlilio said this following the decision of the national coaching staff to field a young group of players after trimming the Gilas Pilipinas national men’s team pool from 16 to 15.
“It’s our decision to make them rest and prepare for the next window,” said Panlilio on Zoom yesterday.
Panlilio talked about their choice of the members of Gilas with SBP chairman emeritus Manny Pangilinan and newly appointed head coach Jong Uichico.
Players who saw action in the PBA Philippine Cup won’t be fielded at this time, event they have made themselves available, according Panlilio.
That’s because the concerned players may be tired after having played under a bubble in Clark, Pampanga for so long.
“The PBA and the players themselves have sacrificed by being in the bubble for six weeks,” explained Panlilio.
The national squad, which will be trimmed further to 12, is led by Kobe Paras, Justine Baltazar and Juan Gomez de Liano.
The rest of the all-cadets squad which will leave on Sunday will also have Isaac Go, Rey Suerte, Allyn Bulanadi, twins Matt and Mike Nieto, Ateneo’s Dwight Ramos and Will Navarro and Dave Ildefonso.
San Beda’s Calvin Oftana and Kemark Carino, and University of the Philippines’ Javi Gomez de Liano also made the cut.
The pool has been working out inside a training bubble at the Inspire Sports Academy in Calamba, Laguna since Friday.
Also listed are Jaydee Tungcab and naturalization prospect Angelo Kouame.
The coaching staff is made up of program head Tab Baldwin, Boyet Fernandez, Alton Lister, Sandro Soriano and Andrei Tolentino.