During interviews, Smart-backed Gilas Pilipinas head coach Jong Uichico always mentioned that Gilas had a 17-man pool when it held a nine-day camp in Inspire Sports Academy in Calamba, Laguna.
However, in releases from the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas, the lineup only consisted of Isaac Go, the Nieto twins, Rey Suerte, Allyn Bulanadi, Jaydee Tungcab, the Gomez de Liaño brothers, Dwight Ramos, Kobe Paras, Justine Baltazar, Dave Ildefonso, Angelo Kouame, William Navarro, Calvin Oftana, and Kemark Carino.
So who is the 17th man?
The federation revealed it in a post, Monday afternoon. Enter 6-foot-5 swingman Chris Koon, who arrived in the country mid-October.
Uichico, though, admitted that FIBA denied Koon’s inclusion for this window because of his papers.
The 19-year-old, whose mother Iderlina Acosta is pure Filipino, has previously said that he was able to acquire his Philippine passport a few months after he turned 16.
The two-time John R. Wooden High School Player of the Year, who transferred to Ateneo last September, did not fly to Manama, Bahrain.
Koon would have been a huge addition to Gilas when it takes on Thailand on the 27th and 30th, since he is a big guard who can play point, shooting guard, and small forward.