Roger Pogoy has finally returned to Gilas Pilipinas.
After serving his five-game suspension – stemming from that infamous brawl with Australia last July – Pogoy has been injected into the lineup that will battle Kazakhstan in the 2019 FIBA World Cup Asian Qualifiers’ sixth window, Sunday.
The 6-foot-1 swingman, who averaged 7.0 points, 1.3 rebounds, and 0.5 assists per game during the first round, will take the place of fellow guard Scottie Thompson.
“Sobrang saya ko talaga na nakabalik na ako. Sobrang thankful ako kay coach Yeng [Guiao] at sa coaching staff na binigyan nila ako ulit ng chance to play for Gilas,” the TNT KaTropa star told Tiebreaker Times, Saturday.
Pogoy will be the only new face in the roster, as head coach Yeng Guiao retained the players that churned out an impressive 84-46 victory over Qatar last Friday – their most impressive performance in this Qualifiers.
Marcio Lassiter, Japeth Aguilar, Mark Barroca, Roger Pogoy, Paul Lee, Andray Blatche, Gabe Norwood, Jayson Castro, Troy Rosario, JP Erram, June Mar Fajardo, and young gun Thirdy Ravena comprise the 12-man squad.
Sunday will be Gilas’ last game in the Qualifiers, and it can either make or break the Philippines’ World Cup hopes.
Gilas simply needs to win over the Kazakhs, and hope for either Jordan and Lebanon to lose their respective games in the other group, to give themselves a better opportunity of going into the global showpiece in China this July.
The Philippines, Jordan, and Lebanon all sport identical 6-5 cards.
But if they fail to walk out of Astana with the win, even if Jordan and Lebanon – both teams that they have played in exhibitions prior to the fifth window – lose their games, then they will kiss their dreams goodbye.