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'Promising turnout' marks first Gilas practice

Philstar.com
'Promising turnout' marks first Gilas practice
Gilas coach Chot Reyes talks to members of the Philippine men's basketball pool.
SBP

MANILA, Philippines – Gilas Pilipinas coach Chot Reyes was pleased with the turnout in the first day of training for the fifth window of the FIBA World Cup Asian Qualifiers Monday at the Meralco Gym with PBA  players, naturalized player Angelo Kouame and naturalized candidate Justine Brownlee. 

William Navarro came out business as usual to resume his duties as part of the Gilas Pilipinas team pool as he was one among the non-PBA players who showed up.

The presence of Brownlee and Kouame at training was an inspiring sight for the Gilas coaches to see. 

“You look good in blue,” Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas executive director Sonny Barrios told Brownlee, clad in blue and white colors of Gilas Pilipinas practice jersey as he was introduced during the post-practice pow wow.

“Only during Mondays,” quipped Tim Cone, head coach of Barangay Ginebra, who serves as an assistant coach to Reyes.

Cone’s response elicited laughter as the multi-titled coach was referring to the Gin Kings’ red and white uniform. The exchanges mirrored the positive atmosphere at the national pool’s training for the coming November window where the Philippines plays away games in Jordan and Saudi Arabia.

Also in attendance were players from San Miguel Beer, TNT and Barangay Ginebra. 

CJ Perez was the only Beerman who showed up. The six-time Most Valuable Player June Mar Fajardo is under the weather and could not attend. 

Japeth Aguilar and Jaime Malonzo of Barangay Ginebra also joined the practice. Teammate Scottie Thompson was present in civilian clothes due to injury.

TNT was represented by Calvin Oftana, the newly recruited, promising sophomore forward who was picked up in a three-team trade involving Blackwater and NLEX. He was joined by teammate and Tropang Giga mainstay Roger Pogoy. John Paul Erram is still in the US. 

Even players who were not part of San Miguel, TNT and Ginebra were there in the persons of Arvin Tolentino of NorthPort and Chris Newsome of Meralco.

The non-PBA players Kouame, Navarro and Francis Lopez also boosted the first day of training for Window 5.

“I’m very pleased with the turnout,” said Reyes. “Unfortunately, June Mar is sick and he even failed to attend his San Miguel practice. Then, Carl Tamayo, he had a practice with UP to 8 p.m. Scottie got injured in their practice game, but at least he’s here and we’re missing June Mar and Carl Tamayo. But I’m really pleased, not only with the turnout, but also the engagement and participation of the players.”

“We have players who are coming in for the first time — CJ Perez and Justin Brownlee. The other thing is, you’re seeing the young ones, Ange, Francis Lopez, Will Navarro. Because we want to continue that process, whether they make it to the final line up for the window or not, but at least, they’re continuing to be part of the long-term program.”

CHOT REYES

FIBA

FIBA WORLD CUP

GILAS

GILAS PILIPINAS

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