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Castro, Romeo, Ravena, Alas fight for right to run point for Gilas

Kiefer Ravena, Jayson Castro, Kevin Alas and Terrence Romeo

MANILA, Philippines – Jayson Castro, Terrence Romeo, Kiefer Ravena and Kevin Alas are four explosive dependable players figuring in a cutthroat competition for the point guard positions in Gilas Pilipinas, which starts its quest for a 2019 FIBA World Cup berth versus Japan then Chinese Taipei late this month.

It’s now a four-man rumble for possibly three spots as Kiefer Ravena finally showed up in the Gilas camp Monday coming from an out-of-town vacation.

Jio Jalalon, who had stints with Gilas in the SEABA Championship, in the Jones Cup, in FIBA Asia Cup, could be out due to a leg injury.

Baser Amer, Mike Tolomia and LA Revilla are also included in the initial 23-man roster the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas submitted to FIBA. But they’re likely in the list just as fallbacks in case anything happens to the Gilas premier guards.

Big men June Mar Fajardo, Japeth Aguilar, Raymond Almazan and Troy Rosario could well be shoo-ins at the frontcourt with naturalized player Andray Blatche.

Competing for spots in the wings are Calvin Abueva, Gabe Norwood, Matthew Wright, Allein Maliksi, Carl Bryan Cruz, Roger Pogoy and Mac Belo.

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Exciting is the showdown among Castro, Romeo, Ravena and Alas at the point.

Castro and Romeo were coach Chot Reyes’ aces at the backcourt in the SEABA and in the FIBA Asia Cup while Ravena proved to be as dependable in manning the point during the Jones Cup, in the SEA Games and in the Asia Champions Cup.

Alas has served duty to the national team in the 2013 SEA Games in Naypyidaw and in the 2014 FIBA Asia Cup in Wuhan, China. He’s among coach Yeng Guiao’s main guns in NLEX’s strong showing in the last PBA Governors Cup.

But not being ruled out is the possibility of all four making the Gilas team for the opening window of the FIBA Asia “WC” home-and-away qualifying series.

It would be remembered that Reyes brought in four point guards in Castro, Jimmy Alapag, LA Tenorio and Paul Lee in the 2014 World Cup in Spain.

Gilas has started a twice-a-day training for the games against Japan on Nov. 24 and against Chinese Taipei on November 27.

The Nationals hold closed-door practices and observe a no-interview policy.

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