Veteran and Asia’s top playmaker Jayson Castro heads Gilas’ four-guard rotation including three youngsters in Kevin Alas, Jio Jalalon, and Kiefer Ravena. Philstar.com/File Photo

Chot Reyes opts for speed vs tall Aussies
(The Philippine Star) - February 20, 2018 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines —  Gilas Pilipinas coach Chot Reyes went for speed and firepower to counter Australia’s clear edge in ceiling, tapping a slew of guards for their first major test in the FIBA World Cup qualifiers against the world No. 10 team in Melbourne on Thursday.

Veteran and Asia’s top playmaker Jayson Castro heads Gilas’ four-guard rotation including three youngsters in Kevin Alas, Jio Jalalon, and Kiefer Ravena with Reyes also tapping Roger Pogoy, Allein Maliksi, Matthew Wright, Gabe Norwood and Calvin Abueva.

Andray Blatche, June Mar Fajardo, and Japeth Aguilar will still man the slots for Team Gilas in the second window of the FIBA Asian Qualifiers while Carl Bryan Cruz and Abu Tratter complete the 14-player roster Reyes named late Sunday night.

According to Reyes, forward Mac Belo is still not fully recovered from a leg injury while center TNT’s Troy Rosario, who suffered a bad fall in a game two weeks ago, has not yet been given medical clearance to play.

The tall, sleek-playing Australians are the heavy favorites heading into the match-up owing to their dominating sweep of their first window for Group B that saw them trample the Taiwanese, 104-66, and the Japanese, 82-58.

Gilas Pilipinas also scored twin victories against the same teams, holding off Japan, 77-71, in Tokyo and fending off Chinese-Taipei, 90-83, at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum.

CALVIN ABUEVA FIBA ASIA GABE NORWOOD GILAS PILIPINAS JAYSON CASTRO KIEFER RAVENA
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