Gilas Pilipinas head coach Chot Reyes made sure that every member of the Gilas cadets pool will be included in the line-up for the 2017 William Jones Cup. And this is a form of reward for the cadets that tirelessly attended both the Gilas sessions and their club team’s practices.
“We made sure everyone on the pool is there, because I think they deserve it for all the hard work and effort they put in – coming to practice daily.
“Number two, we’re fortunate that the Jones Cup allows us to put a sixteen-man roster as long as we just play twelve every game,” the 53-year-old tactician shared.
Leading the 16-man line-up are the first batch of Gilas cadets. Jiovani Jalalon, Mike Tolomia, Almond Vosotros, Matthew Wright, Ed Daquioag, Von Pessumal, Roger Pogoy, Mac Belo, Kevin Ferrer, Carl Cruz, and Fonzo Gotladera lead the cast that will face eight squads in Taiwan.
Joining the pioneer batch of cadets are Pilipinas-3×3 players Kiefer Ravena and Kobe Paras. 6-foot-8 Filipino-German Christian Standhardinger will make his seniors team debut while Raymar Jose will join the cadets team for the first time. Mike Myers will serve as the team’s reinforcement.
The Philippines is gunning for its sixth gold medal in the tournament that was last won by Mighty Sports-Philippines a year ago. According to Coach Chot, the mission of Gilas in Taiwan is two-fold: to win the Jones Cup and to develop team chemistry for the SEA Games.
“We’re hitting two birds with one stone: we want to do a great job in the Jones Cup and want to give exposure to everyone in the pool competing against elite Asian-level competition,” Reyes said.
“We are, as well, preparing for the SEA Games, because the majority of those who are going to be in the SEA Games are going to be playing in the Jones Cup,” the five-time Coach of the Year added, as the 2017 SEA Games is set to begin on August 19 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
But not everyone from the 16-man line-up will be fielded in every game as only 12 players could be plugged, according to the tournament officials.
“I made sure to speak also with the players before we broke the huddle, telling them there’s going to be sixteen names in the roster, but four are going to sit,” disclosed Reyes, who steered Gilas Pilipinas to gold back in the 2012 Jones Cup.
“They all have to understand that and be fine with it.”
Gilas Pilipinas opens its Jones Cup campaign on Saturday, July 15 against Canada (3:00pm). The team will then face Chinese-Taipei A (July 16, 7:00pm), Chinese-Taipei B (July 17, 3:00pm), Japan (July 18, 1:00pm), Korea (July 19, 5:00pm), Iraq (July 20, 5:00pm), Lithuania (July 21, 3:00pm), India (July 22, 1:00pm), and Iran (July 23, 5:00pm).