It was a star-studded night in the Meralco Gym Monday evening as the best of the best in Philippine basketball converged for Gilas Pilipinas’ first session in preparation for the 2019 FIBA World Cup Asian Qualifiers.
With the Qualifiers just 44 days away, 11 players were present.
Kiefer Ravena, Troy Rosario, Allein Maliksi, Carl Cruz, Roger Pogoy, Mac Belo, Kevin Alas, Jio Jalalon, Japeth Aguilar, and Jayson Castro attended the practice.
Gabe Norwood arrived at around 8:29 in the evening.
Matthew Wright did not participate in the night’s drills as his club team Phoenix Fuel Masters had a game last Sunday.
Not present were June Mar Fajardo, Calvin Abueva, and Raymond Almazan.
Joining the night’s cast were the young guns that will hopefully be part of the Gilas team in the 2023 FIBA World Cup.
Collegiate champions Isaac Go, Thirdy Ravena, Javee Mocon, Robert Bolick, and Kemark Carino headlined the cast. Joining them are Paul Desiderio, J-jay Alejandro, Juan Gomez De Liano, Will Gozum, CJ Perez, Arvin Tolentino, and Jeo Ambohot.
Joshua Sinclair was present but in street clothes. He is still recovering from an ACL tear.
Each player were introduced and formally presented with their Gilas jersey by SBP chairman emeritus Manny V. Pangilinan, chairman Al Panlilio, vice chairman Robbie Puno, executive director Sonny Barios, and senator Sonny Angara.
Even if he is not part of the 23 dor 2023 list, Ricci Rivero was on the sidelines as a visitor.
The night’s session was led by coach Chot Reyes and assistant coaches Jong Uichico, Jimmy Alapag, Josh Reyes, and Ryan Betia.
The Philippines will face Australia at the Margaret Court Arena on February 22. Three days later, the country will host Japan at the SM Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City.