Christened Gilas leaders Thirdy Ravena and Dwight Ramos headlined the 16-man pool of the Philippine Men’s National Men’s 5-on-5 Basketball Team for the 31st Southeast Asian Games.
Ravena, who plays for San-En, and Ramos, who plays for Toyama, will be available for the regional meet as their respective B.League campaigns end on May 8 — four days before the opening ceremony in Hanoi, Vietnam.
“They will have time to catch up in the training and they already know the stuff that we do,” said Gilas head coach Chot Reyes on Friday evening. “It will be easy for them to assimilate.”
Also called up are a couple of young guns in 17-year-old Caelum Harris and 18-year-old Lebron Lopez.
“I’ve always said that we want to look into the future.
“We wanted to have a lot of more young guys in the pool but the SEA Games will overlap with the UAAP schedule. That strikes out a lot of our collegiate players,” said Reyes.
The PBA pros joining are June Mar Fajardo of San Miguel, Poy Erram of TNT, Mo Tautuaa of San Miguel, Japeth Aguilar of Ginebra, Isaac Go of Terrafirma, Troy Rosario of TNT, Roger Pogoy of TNT, Matthew Wright of Phoenix Super LPG, Kevin Alas of NLEX, Robert Bolick of Northport, and Kib Montalbo of TNT.
Aguilar, Fajardo, Rosario, and Wright were also part of the team that won gold in the 2019 edition of the tournament.
“Very fortunate and very thankful to Commissioner Willie and the PBA board for making the following players available,” said Reyes.
Completing the pool is William Navarro.
The team is set to begin training on April 13.
“The key now is how quickly we can start practice to prepare.”
The Philippines has won 18 gold medals in 5-on-5 basketball in the SEA Games — including 13 straight.