Gilas Pilipinas Men will have to make two to three cuts before heading to Belgrade, Serbia for the 2021 FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament.
Unlike the Asia Cup Qualifiers, teams cannot change lineups on a per-game basis.
“We are taking 12 to 13 players.
“We haven’t made a final decision on that yet, but obviously we are only going to play 12 because we are not allowed to change roster like what we did in this tournament,” said Gilas head coach and program director Tab Baldwin after their 82-77 win over Korea.
Baldwin won’t be tinkering with his pool, though. The 15 players in the Clark bubble will be the ones he and his staff will choose from.
This means that injured players like Matt Nieto, Rey Suerte, Allyn Bulanadi, Kemark Carino, Dave Ildefonso, Jason Credo, and Tzaddy Rangel will only return to duty once the team prepares for the Asia Cup proper this August.
In the pool are Dwight Ramos, Angelo Kouame, Justine Baltazar, Kai Sotto, SJ Belangel, RJ Abarrientos, Isaac Go, William Navarro, Jaydee Tungcab, Mike Nieto, Geo Chiu, Javi Gomez de Liano, and Lebron Lopez.
Carl Tamayo’s progress, on the other hand, remains on a day-to-day basis.
There are also reports that the team might send some players home as early as tomorrow. This way, they can return to their families before the grind ahead.
“I really don’t. I think that these players have their own confidence — the confidence of youth, the confidence of hard work, the confidence of having some success. But the coaching staff takes a much more critical view of things; and we are focused very much on areas of improvement that are evident for us. It is certainly evident for us,” said Baldwin about this crop of Gilas.
“This is a great group of guys to work with.”