When the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas unveiled its wishlist for the 2023 FIBA World Cup, there were shoo-ins and surprises. The likes of Thirdy Ravena, Kobe Paras, Kai Sotto, CJ Perez, and Robert Bolick were considered as locks while Jeo Ambohot, J-jay Alejandro, and some of the Filipino-Americans were surprises.
However, just like any list, there were players that were left out.
This time around, two of them came from La Salle in sophomore Ricci Rivero and junior Andrei Caracut.
Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas chairman emeritus Manny V. Pangilinan has even been vocal in saying that he hopes Rivero makes the team.
“We have excellent college players,” he told Tiebreaker Times last December 14, 2017.
“This year we have Ricci Rivero of La Salle, Thirdy Ravena of Ateneo, Robert Bolick of San Beda, and CJ Perez of Lyceum.”
However, La Salle did not allow its players to join the 23 for 2023 pool, according to Gilas head coach Chot Reyes.
“The school has asked us not to include their players first because they’re in the process of transition,” the president of ESPN5 told Sportscenter, Friday evening.
Both Green Archers stalwarts though plan to join the pool once they get clearance.
“Ipipilit ko yan kahit anong mangyari kasi pangarap yan ng lahat ng player,” said an oblivious Rivero, who averaged 14.1 points, 5.3 rebounds, and 1.5 steals last season.
“Kaya lang, kung ayaw nila, wala akong magagawa.”
“Wala pa namang kumausap sa akin, pero siyempre, gusto ko,” added Caracut, who posted norms of 7.4 points, 2.3 rebounds, and 2.5 assists.
“Lahat ng players naman, gusto yun.”
The Green Archers want the transition from former head coach Aldin Ayo to incoming mentor Louie Gonzalez to be as smooth as possible. And this includes a favor asking the student-athletes to decrease their presence on social media for the time being.
For his part, Reyes stressed that nothing is final for the 2023 Gilas team as a lot of things can still happen in five years.
“This is a pool, this is a list and it doesn’t mean that these are players for 2023,” he shared. “There are still very young players in the current Gilas pool. What we are saying is this is the Gilas pool and the 23 for 2023, now you fight.
“It’s up to them to prove to us who belongs in the final roster.”
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