Exactly 13 days before the second window of the 2021 FIBA Asia Cup Qualifiers takes place in Manama, Bahrain, the Gilas Pilipinas pool has arrived at Inspire Academy in Calamba, Laguna for its training camp.
A total of 16 players are part of the pool that will face Thailand on the 26th, South Korea on the 28th, and Thailand again on the 30th.
There are 11 players who are holdovers from the pool of the first window, namely Gilas cadets Isaac Go; Matt and Mike Nieto; Rey Suerte; Allyn Bulanadi; Jaydee Tungcab; and Juan and Javi Gomez de Liano. Also in Calamba are Dwight Ramos, Kobe Paras, Justine Baltazar, and Dave Ildefonso.
New additions are William Navarro and Angelo Kouame of Ateneo; and Calvin Oftana and Kemark Carino of San Beda.
Navarro, a 6-foot-5 utility forward, is the glue guy of the Blue Eagles during its three-peat run in the UAAP. Last season, the 23-year-old posted numbers of 7.29 points, 5.64 rebounds, and 1.29 assists per game.
Then there’s reigning NCAA Most Valuable Player Oftana. The 6-foot-4 native of Dumaguete City is another utility forward who posted numbers of 15.5 points, 8.2 rebounds, 2.5 assists, and 1.1 blocks per contest last season.
Joining Oftana is fellow Red Lion Kemark Carino. Though averaging just 2.0 points and 1.4 boards last season, the 6-foot-8 big man has always been part of numerous Gilas pools, including 5.0 and 23 for 2023.
Also in Gilas’ Calambubble is Kouame. The Ivorian, 6-foot-11 big man, who averaged 12.87 points, 11.8 rebounds, and 3.67 blocks last season, is seeking naturalization. It is still unknown whether his papers make it before November 26.