No reserves for Asia Cup

Joaquin Henson - The Philippine Star
No reserves for Asia Cup
Chot Reyes.
STAR / File

MANILA, Philippines — Gilas head coach Chot Reyes said yesterday he was advised that the team is required to submit its final 12-man roster to FIBA Asia Cup organizers before leaving Manila for Jakarta and his plan to bring in a pool of 14 was thumbed down. In previous FIBA competitions, the lineups are confirmed the day before the start of the tournament in a technical managers’ meeting. But this time, the rule is to land with exactly 12 players, leaving no room for late roster changes.

The SBP earlier submitted a pool of 24 to FIBA Asia. It’s from this pool where the final 12 will be picked. Except for Reyes and TNT player Poy Erram, the Gilas delegation will take off for Jakarta on Saturday. The tournament is set on July 12-24. TNT has a game against Barangay Ginebra in the PBA Philippine Cup at the Smart Araneta Coliseum on Sunday so Reyes and Erram will leave after the contest. Reyes said he has asked the PBA if the match could be moved up from 6:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. so he might be able to take the evening flight for Jakarta with Erram. The PBA prioritized TNT’s games in the schedule so Tropang Giga will have finished its single round elimination assignments before the FIBA Asia Cup opens. The Philippines begins its campaign against Lebanon on July 13 then plays India on July 15 and New Zealand on July 17.

Reyes said Bobby Ray Parks will suit up for Gilas. Parks received clearance from his Japanese B.League team Nagoya to play in Jakarta the other day. Also in the lineup are B.League Asian imports Thirdy and Kiefer Ravena and Dwight Ramos. Others expected to be named to the 12-man cast are Geo Chiu, Carl Tamayo, Kevin Quiambao, William Navarro, SJ Belangel, Francis Lopez, Erram and RJ Abarrientos or Rhenz Abando.

Although NBA star Jordan Clarkson was not in the pool of 24, there was an attempt to enlist him as a medical replacement for injured naturalized player Ange Kouame. Kai Sotto was in the pool but is now deep in training in Ohio. “We always include Kai in our pool for any international competition to keep the doors open,” said Reyes. Clarkson and Sotto, however, are unavailable for the coming FIBA Asia Cup.

Justine Baltazar would’ve been in the pool but Reyes said he couldn’t get a firm commitment to play. Baltazar recently led Pampanga to the NBL championship and is headed for the B.League. Since the B.League is on a break and the NBL just finished, Baltazar could’ve joined Gilas. Without Kouame, Reyes will make do with a platoon of bigs to include Erram, Chiu, Tamayo, Quiambao and even Navarro.



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