No special treatment

SPORTING CHANCE - Joaquin M. Henson - The Philippine Star
No special treatment
Al Panlilio.
STAR / File

There was talk that two players asked for compensation more than what was given to others in suiting up for Gilas at the Asian Games in Hangzhou last year.  No names were mentioned and its best to leave it at thatThey lost the chance to join the gold medal squad so it was their loss, not Gilas.’

In announcing Gilas’ 12-man lineup for the coming FIBA Asia Cup qualifying window, SBP president Al Panlilio made it clear that no special treatment will be given to any player. “All equal,” he saidPanlilio added that the players, including four from the Japanese B-League, have confirmed their participation.

The roster lists Scottie Thompson, Chris Newsome, Calvin Oftana, CJ Perez, Jamie Malonzo, June Mar Fajardo, Dwight Ramos, AJ Edu, Carl Tamayo, Kai Sotto, Kevin Quiambao and Justin BrownleeThe only collegiate player in the cast is Quiambao, the UAAP MVP from La SalleBrownlees status remains up in the air as FIBA has yet to announce its decision in the wake of a positive finding for cannabis in a drug test after the Asian Games final last October.

Were hoping Justin can play,” said PanlilioWhile SBP awaits FIBAs decision, there is hope for Brownlee to join Gilas in the coming window as in a precedent, NBA player Jordan Bell was suspended three months for the same violation last yearBrownlee has been involuntary suspensionand SBP is praying that his inactivity over the last four months may be a sufficient penalty.

Six players were retained from the Gilas squad that took the Asian Games gold medal in Hangzhou last yearThompson, Newsome, Oftana, Perez, Fajardo and BrownleeSeven saw action in the recent FIBA World CupThompson, Perez, Fajardo, Malonzo, Sotto, Ramos and Edu.

There are 24 teams battling for 16 qualifying spots in the FIBA Asia Cup scheduled on Aug. 5-17, 2025, in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. The 16 qualified teams will then represent Asia/Oceania in the six 2027 FIBA World Cup qualifying windows that are set on Nov. 24-Dec. 2, 2025; Feb. 23-March 3, 2026; June 29-July 7, 2026; Aug. 24-Sept. 1, 2026; Nov. 23-Dec. 1, 2026 and Feb. 22-March 2, 2027.

In the coming window, the Philippines is bracketed with New Zealand, Hong Kong and Chinese-Taipei in Group BThe teams will round-robin over three home-and-away windows in February and November this year and in February next yearGilas will face Hong Kong on the road on Feb. 22 and engage Chinese-Taipei at home on Feb. 25Then, the Philippines will host New Zealand on Nov. 21 and Hong Kong on Nov. 24Next yearGilas will visit Chinese-Taipei on Feb. 20 and New Zealand on Feb. 23.

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