New faces banner Gilas Pilipinas’ pool that entered the Inspire Sports Academy in Calamba, Laguna, Monday.
Headlining the cast are some of the brightest freshmen in the country today in Far Eastern University’s RJ Abarrientos, University of the Philippines’ Carl Tamayo, Ateneo High School’s Lebron Lopez, and Ateneo de Manila University’s Kyle Ong.
Other Gilas Men’s newbies are Gian Mamuyac, Jason Credo, Joshua Lazaro, Troy Mallillin, Geo Chiu, and SJ Belangel.
The month-long camp which will begin after the players and staff clear health protocol is done in preparation for the Clark window of the 2021 FIBA Asia Cup Qualifiers and the 2021 Olympic Qualifying Tournament, both set in June.
“We have to prepare for the FIBA window and OQT in June. As it stands right now, the rosters will be selected without PBA players. So we obviously need to work with the players available,” said Gilas program director Tab Baldwin to Tiebreaker Times.
“We need to establish first who the roster will be and building that roster into a competitive team.”
Also reporting for duty were 2021 PBA Gilas draftees Jordan Heading, William Navarro, Tzaddy Rangel, and Jaydee Tungcab.
Holdovers from past windows include Dave Ildefonso, Dwight Ramos, Justine Baltazar, Chris Koon, and soon-to-be Filipino Angelo Kouame.
Isaac Go, the Nieto twins, and Rey Suerte are expected to follow as each of them has minor injuries while Allyn Bulanadi will still be out as he is still recovering from a right shoulder injury.
Also out for an indefinite amount of time is Juan Gomez de Liano as he is still experiencing ankle and back problems.
The team’s staff are Jong Uichico, Boyet Fernandez, Sandy Arespacochaga, Gabby Severino, Caloy Garcia, Alton Lister, and Sandro Soriano.
Javi Gomez de Liano and Kemark Carino, and as well as Kevin Quiambao and Raven Cortez, have all begged off due to academic commitments to which Baldwin understands. There were other players who were invited that were not disclosed by Baldwin but also declined the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas’ invitation.
“It’s academic. We respect that, there’s no issue with that. With the age with the kids we are dealing with, we were expecting those conflicts to happen. I was expecting more but I appreciate the commitment of all these players,” said Baldwin.