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2023 FIBA World Cup

Chot hopes to have Lopez in future Gilas teams: ‘But he has to be present’

Gilas Men brought in 15 players in their pool for the Quezon City window of the 20233 FIBA World Cup Asian Qualifiers.

Preparing for a potential two-game tilt with Korea plus games against New Zealand and India, Gilas head coach Chot Reyes wanted to field all 15 players. That pool even had Roger Pogoy and Kib Montalbo, who were recovering from injuries.

But Korea pulling out changed Reyes’ plans.

Out of the 15 players, only 13 played.

Dwight Ramos, Thirdy Ravena, Robert Bolick, Angelo Kouame, Troy Rosario, Pogoy, Montalbo, Poy Erram, Kelly Williams, Juan Gomez de Liano, and William Navarro played in both games while Tzaddy Rangel was fielded versus India and Jaydee Tungcab replaced him for their game against the Tall Blacks.

Reyes explained that Gab Banal, a former MPBL Most Valuable Player, was only brought in just in case Pogoy wasn’t ready. Pogoy had been nursing a strained calf.

2023-FIBA-World-Cup-Asian-Qualifiers-Gilas-Pilipinas-Pingris-x-Banal-x-Montalbo-x-Bolick-x-Erram-x-Williams Chot hopes to have Lopez in future Gilas teams: 'But he has to be present' 2023 FIBA World Cup Basketball Gilas Pilipinas News  - philippine sports news

Photo from Marc PIngris’ Facebook page

“Well, Gab was chosen precisely, he knew that he was a backup to Roger. In case Pogoy couldn’t go, Gab Banal was our backup,” he said.

“That was made very clear with him when we included him in the 15-man lineup.”

Pogoy ended up averaging 8.0 points, 3.0 rebounds, and 1.5 steals in the two games for the window.

Meanwhile, Lopez was the last entry in Gilas’ training camp for the window, only joining the team back on February 14.

The 18-year-old was behind in acclimating himself to Reyes’ system which led to the mentor not fielding him for this window.

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“For Lebron Lopez, he was the last person to join. He joined us when we were already here so he’s very far from the scheme of things,” he said.

“He’s still very far from understanding our offense and defense.”

Reyes though hopes to have Lopez in the country as Gilas prepares for a tough slate starting in May.

“But in the future, I told Lebron that he’s going to get more chances with this team but he has to be present; he has to be in the training camps and practices like all these other guys. And that’s the reason why.”

With reports from Jeremy Chua

All Group A games of the 2023 FIBA World Cup Asian Qualifiers will stream live on GigaPlay. Download it now on Android or IOS.

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