With the Philippine Basketball Association’s Philippine Cup in full swing come the third window of the 2023 FIBA World Cup Asian Qualifiers and the Asia Cup, the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas will be turning to amateur standouts to compose Gilas Men in those two tournaments.
According to multiple sources closely monitoring the situation, a total of nine student-athletes were called up to join Gilas’ practice which begins on Wednesday.
Leading the batch is the only NCAA representative in the pool, Rhenz Abando.
The reigning NCAA MVP, who stands at 6-foot-2, is coming off a spectacular year with Colegio de San Juan de Letran, averaging 15.58 points, 6.83 rebounds, 1.67 assists, and 1.33 blocks to lead the Knights to the title while winning MVP honor.
This is Abando’s first call up to the program.
Meanwhile, the rest of the call-ups are from the UAAP.
Returning to the seniors’ team from last year’s fabled pool are Carl Tamayo, Angelo Kouame, RJ Abarrientos, SJ Belangel, and Dave Ildefonso.
Quiambao, 21, is a 6-foot-5 big man who previously played for Gilas 3×3’s Under-18 team back in the 2019 Asia Cup. The DLSU commit stayed in game shape after playing in an amateur league in Dubai a season ago.
Finally, Concepcion, 25, is a 6-foot-2 winger who plays for University of Santo Tomas.
The team will be reinforced by Filipino overseas imports like Shiga’s Kiefer Ravena, San-En’s Thirdy Ravena, Hiroshima’s Justine Baltazar, and Hokkaido’s Dwight Ramos.
Of course, the only remaining full-time Gilas player William Navarro will still be part of the team, along with free agent Lebron Lopez.
Finally, Rain or Shine’s Gian Mamuyac and Shaun Ildefonso; Converge’s Justin Arana; and Terrafirma’s Javi Gomez de Liano will join the team once cleared by the PBA.
ERRATUM: Tiebreaker Times earlier reported that Xyrus Torres was part of the pool instead of RJ Abarrientos