Nineteen players have entered the Inspire Sports Academy in Calamba, Laguna in preparation for the 2021 FIBA Asia Cup, Saturday afternoon.
Thirdy Ravena rejoined the national team after spending the last year in Japan.
The 6-foot-3 winger last played for Gilas back in the first window of the 2021 FIBA Asia Cup Qualifiers.
Returning to Gilas after suffering injuries heading into the Asia Cup Qualifiers and the Olympic Qualifying Tournament in Belgrade are Matt Nieto, Allyn Bulanadi, Rey Suerte, Dave Ildefonso, Kemark Carino, and Tzaddy Rangel.
Called back up were Angelo Kouame, Carl Tamayo, Isaac Go, Dwight Ramos, Geo Chiu, Jaydee Tungcab, Jordan Heading, Justine Baltazar, Mike Nieto, RJ Abarrientos, SJ Belangel, and William Navarro.
Coaches in the bubble are Tab Baldwin, Jong Uichico, Boyet Fernandez, Sandro Soriano, and Dex Aseron.
The Asia Cup’s status is still up in the air as Indonesia has been experiencing a surge in COVID-19 cases. It is penciled in to take place from August 17-29.
Still, Baldwin does not want to leave anything to chance since the FIBA Asia Cup is Gilas’ penultimate tournament for the calendar year.
“I think people need to understand that the Asia Cup is extremely important because right now. With the SEA Games cancelled, this tournament is the last dress rehearsal for the World Cup Qualifiers,” Baldwin noted.
“So this is our last chance to get the experiences that we need in this kind of tournament that is similar to the World Cup format.”
Gilas is set to begin training tomorrow as no one yielded a positive RT-PCR test.
“We’ve all passed our swab tests and everyone is negative,” he shared.
Navarro and Tamayo though are still nursing some minor injuries stemming from the grind Gilas had back in June.
“Will and Carl are recovering from their respective injuries but should be cleared within the week. Dwight, on the other hand, has fully recovered,” he said.