No shoo-ins among PBA players in Gilas bubble
CJ Perez is one of the six PBA players in the Gilas bubble

No shoo-ins among PBA players in Gilas bubble

Luisa Morales (Philstar.com) - January 24, 2021 - 4:46pm

MANILA, Philippines — The six PBA players in Gilas Pilipinas' training bubble in Calamba, Laguna may have the advantage in age and experience over the neophyte cadets.

But anyone who believes they are already a shoo-in in the lineup for the third window of the FIBA 2021 Asia Cup qualifiers is gravely mistaken.

At least, according to Ryan Gregorio, currently the special assistant to the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) president.

"They were briefed when they entered the bubble that nobody is assured of a slot in our Final 12. They really have to fight for it," said Gregorio during an episode of Noli Eala's Power & Play.

This comes after a successful outing from an all-cadet squad in the Bahrain bubble last November, where Gilas, led by collegiate stars like Juan Gomez de Liano and Dwight Ramos, hardly missed a beat in the international stage sans the professionals.

The PBA contingent in the bubble, made up of CJ Perez, Kiefer Ravena, Justine Chua, RR Pogoy and Raul Soyud, will need to make their case if they want a taste of the action in the qualifiers come February.

"They have to make sure they are worthy of the slot given to them," Gregorio said.

Additionally, the pros will not only need to prove that they have the talent to make it to the final lineup, but ultimately contribute in ways that will elevate the style of play.

Having raw talent and being the best of the pack, Gregorio says, is not the only basis of being selected.

"We are not just looking at the best players in our country, what we're looking for is players that fit in the best," said Gregorio.

"As far as the coaches are concerned, there is a specific role that each player must play in order for us to be very successful," he added.

The Nationals will begin the third window of the qualifiers when they face Korea on February 18, then once again on February 22.

They will also clash with Indonesia, whom they defeated in the first window of the qualifiers, on February 20.

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