Lebron Lopez will not be part of Gilas Pilipinas Men’s team that will fly to Belgrade for the 2021 FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament on Thursday evening.
The 18-year-old forward, who is the youngest player on the roster, was the final scratch. Carl Tamayo will be joining the team instead.
Lopez played in one game during the 2021 FIBA Asia Cup Qualifiers. He scored eight points and grabbed five rebounds, along with an assist, a steal, and a block against Indonesia.
” At this stage, and with the strict FIBA protocols, there is no opportunity to bring Lebron to Serbia for the experience of being a part of the travelling pool and learning more from his more experienced Gilas brothers,” said Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas Special Assistant to the President Ryan Gregorio.
With this, the final 12 for the team that will take on Serbia on the 30th and the Dominican Republic on July 1 are Tamayo, Dwight Ramos, Angelo Kouame, Justine Baltazar, Kai Sotto, SJ Belangel, RJ Abarrientos, Isaac Go, William Navarro, Mike Nieto, Geo Chiu, and Jordan Heading.
Still, Gilas head coach Tab Baldwin feels proud of the maturity Lopez has shown for the past few months. He also assured that Lopez will again receive a call-up for future FIBA tournaments.
“Lebron’s growth and development has been outstanding to this point; and there is every expectation that it will continue as he will certainly remain a part of the Gilas pool,” he said.
“Lebron’s elite athleticism, fiery competitive nature, and blossoming skillset show great promise for the future,” he continued.
“As Lebron’s understanding of basketball concepts matures and his cohesion with the Gilas culture and players continues to mature, there is every expectation that he will ultimately be a major contributor to Gilas in the future.”