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2023 FIBA World Cup

Baldwin mulls adding PBA stars, Fil-fors to Gilas mix

Gilas Pilipinas will have a loaded schedule starting November of this year. 

Once the November window of the 2023 FIBA World Cup Asian Qualifiers begins, Gilas will be competing in tournaments both here and abroad on almost a monthly basis.

There’s the February and June windows of the WCQ, the Asia Cup proper, the Southeast Asian Games, the Asian Games, and a bunch of pocket tournaments.

But who will compose the team? Will Gilas have a consistent pool at hand?

Of course, there are the Gilas PBA draftees in Isaac Go, the Nieto twins, Rey Suerte, Allyn Bulanadi, Jordan Heading, William Navarro, Tzaddy Rangel, and Jaydee Tungcab.

The student-athletes of the national team, though – like Carl Tamayo, SJ Belangel, and RJ Abarrientos – will be reporting to their schools. Collegiate leagues like the University Athletic Association of the Philippines are looking to begin their season in March.

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Players like Kiefer Ravena, Ray Parks, Kai Sotto, Lebron Lopez, Thirdy Ravena, the Gomez de Liaño brothers, and Kemark Carino are also playing abroad.

OTE-vs-Ignite-Lopez-x-Sotto Baldwin mulls adding PBA stars, Fil-fors to Gilas mix 2023 FIBA World Cup Basketball Gilas Pilipinas News PBA UAAP  - philippine sports news

And it’s the challenge about to face Gilas Pilipinas program director Tab Baldwin and the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas.

This early, the federation is looking to gather all of the country’s stakeholders – including the Philippine Basketball Association – to talk about their commitment to the Gilas program.

“I think that the evolution of the roster is the most difficult thing that we face and probably the most exciting thing for our fans to talk about.

“Everything has to be on the table. We expect the UAAP and the NCAA to begin again next year so there’s going to have been discussions with all of the stakeholders for all of those players involved,” said Baldwin, who himself is the head coach of Ateneo. “The PBA has to come back to the mix. We have to talk again about the potential of having PBA players.

“Now we have players playing overseas. These players will have FIBA release clauses in their contract, which is going to allow them to come back but on a very, very limited preparation time,” he continued.

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The SBP knows that the ideal scenario is to have a definite set of players fully focused on the national team.

But with a lot of their candidates going pro elsewhere, the problem now is to identify a new set of possible call-ups.

2021-fiba-asia-cup-qualifiers-gilas-CJ-Perez Baldwin mulls adding PBA stars, Fil-fors to Gilas mix 2023 FIBA World Cup Basketball Gilas Pilipinas News PBA UAAP  - philippine sports news

Photo from FIBA Asia Cup

“What we need is for these players is to be together for a very long time and making themselves available for flag and country,” said SBP Special Assistant to the President Ryan Gregorio.

“Who are the players that will represent as well? The lineup in Clark can be the core as well but will they be available?”

As mentioned by Baldwin, the FIBA windows and the Asia Cup won’t be a problem as almost all of the prospects have a release clause.

But again, the American-Kiwi tactician, who values good preparation above all else, knows that the three-week “FIBA break” will mostly be eaten up by quarantine.

“So it’s really interesting, we have this full-time program with the draftees and then have these bit players. How do we integrate them? How often will we integrate them and how easy will it be to integrate them?” he continued.

“This is a huge task. “

But what about the SEA Games and the Asian Games?

“I wish I knew honestly. It’s such a difficult task and it will need a lot of conversation. The Asian Games and the Southeast Asian Games may not allow our overseas players because they are not FIBA tournaments. There will be a possibility to have Fil-foreigners but will that be good for our preparation for the World Cup?”


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