Two pillars of Gilas Pilipinas for the 2023 FIBA World Cup will miss the national team’s entire buildup.
On Friday, the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas revealed that Jordan Clarkson and Kai Sotto will miss Gilas’ pre-World Cup pocket tournaments and tuneup matches in Europe.
The friendlies will be against Estonia, Finland, Lithuania and Latvia.
Clarkson, who still has one year left in his contract with his mother team Utah, is looking to negotiate a new deal or test free agency.
Sotto, meanwhile, is working out with NBA teams in hopes of a Summer League call-up.
Another mini-tourney in China is also being arranged for early August which the two could join.
PBA players include Justin Brownlee, Scottie Thompson, Jamie Malonzo, Japeth Aguilar, June Mar Fajardo, CJ Perez, Roger Pogoy, JP Erram, Calvin Oftana, and Chris Newsome.
Overseas imports Dwight Ramos, the Ravena bros, Rhenz Abando, Carl Tamayo, Jordan Heading, and Bobby Ray Parks Jr. are also part of the pool.
Completing the cast are free agents Angelo Kouame and AJ Edu.
Still, SBP president Al Panlilio hopes the entire country rallies behind Gilas during the final stretch of the team’s buildup.
“We humbly seek the full support of our countrymen for our National Pool. They are about to begin the critical part of their training for the World Cup and they need everybody to fall behind them,” said Panlilio, recently elected Second Vice President of the FIBA Asia Board.
“We’re praying for the good health and safety of all the players, coaches, and everyone involved with Gilas Pilipinas. This is our national team, and they are all committed to give their utmost best as they go up against the best players in the world.”
On the hosting side of the event, Panlilio assured that SBP and the FIBAWC Local Organizing Committee had left no stone unturned in making sure the country will be delivering the best World Cup ever, adding everything is right on schedule.
“With the help of the government and our friends in the public sector, SBP has put in place an elaborate network that works 24/7 to guarantee a World Cup built on organization, teamwork and our fellowmen’s innate hospitality and love for the game,” Panlilio said.