Time to shine for Gilas cadets

Joey Villar (The Philippine Star) - November 26, 2020 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Sending an all-cadet Gilas Pilipinas team to the FIBA-Asia Cup 2021 Qualifiers in Manama, Bahrain is just part of a long-term plan geared towards the 2023 FIBA World Cup that the Philippines will co-host with Japan and Indonesia.

“I am excited because it’s going to level up Philippine basketball with this experience and yes, a pool of young men. I’m excited to see who among these players will be there in 2023 competing for slots with PBA veterans,” said Samahang Basketball ng Pilipinas (SBP) president Al Panlilio in the Smart Sports-backed Tiebreaker Times vodcast Tuesday night.

Panlilio was referring to the Jong Uichico-mentored squad in that includes Kobe Paras, Dave Ildefonso, brothers Javi and Juan Gomez de Liano, Justine Baltazar, Calvin Oftana, Dwight Ramos, Isaac Go and Allyn Bulanadi.

Other members are Rey Suerte, Jaydee Tungcab, Will Navarro, Kenmark Cariño and siblings Mike and Matt Nieto. Ateneo star Angelo Kouame of Ivory Coast will also be part of the program assuming his naturalization bid passes Congress.

“It will be nice to see a split between these young men and some PBA veterans. Of course, you still need a Junemar (Fajardo) because of his height, experience, maybe still need a Japeth Aguilar or Roger Pogoy for experience,” said Panlilio.

The Filipinos will take on the Thais twice in the Manama bubble tomorrow and Monday as the South Korea schedule was completely scratched following the latter’s withdrawal.

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