Japeth Aguilar (L) and Matthew Wright
FIBA.com Photos
Aguilar, Wright return for Team Philippines vs Qatar
Denison Rey A. Dalupang (Philstar.com) - September 16, 2018 - 3:35pm

MANILA, Philippines — Having served their one-game bans, Japeth Aguilar and Matthew Wright are back into the Team Pilipinas’ fold when the squad takes on the visiting Qataris in Monday’s FIBA World Cup qualifying match slated on Monday night.

Joining the returnees are the national team’s newest faces in Scottie Thompson and Alex Cabagnot. 

Gilas pioneer Marcio Lassiter, longtime skipper Gabe Norwood, the aging Asi Taulava, and Ian Sangalang are also reprising their roles after the heartbreaking loss to the Iranians last Thursday.

JP Erram, Paul Lee, Stanley Pringle, who all have mounted commendable individual performances at the Asiad last month, will also see action. They will be joined by Beau Belga.

Curiously, Christian Standhardinger is knocked off the roster after having an efficient scoring display in the game against the Iranians. Pringle has taken his spot as the naturalized member of the team. A squad can field only one during games.  

The lineup was bared by the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilpinas Sunday afternoon, just after the Nationals’ short practice at the Big Dome.

"It is a welcome development that Japeth Aguilar and Matthew Wright are back in the Final 12 after serving their 1-game suspension imposed by FIBA,” SBP president Al Panlilio said through a statement minutes after the revelation. 

“Japeth’s quickness, perimeter scoring as well as his above the rim athleticism combined with his vast experience in the international brand of play will surely be an added boost in our battle against Qatar. Matthew is a knock-down shooter from the 3 point area. We struggled mightily against Iran because we couldn’t shoot from the outside, with him on board, hopefully, that problem will be addressed," he added. 

Panlilio noted that Greg Slaughter, who was nursing an injured left ankle, was not given the "greenlight" to suit up, but added that he remains optimisitc that the 7-foot big man will be healthy in time to form a frontcourt tandem with 4-time PBA Most Valuable Player June Mar Fajardo when the fifth window of the skirmishes opens in Manila this December. 

The match, slated to be held at the aforementioned venue, will be exclusive to a pruned number of Philippine and international press, SBP executives, and members of FIBA. This is in part of the myriad sanctions handed down by the international governing body following the fracas with Australia in July 2.

A live telecast will be aired through ESPN Philippines’ YouTube feed and television station.

Team Philippines is currently enjoying a 4-3 win-loss record in the second round of the continental qualifying contest. 

Qatar, on the other hand, is struggling with a 2-5 card.

The match tips off 7:30 p.m.

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