Dy confirms Gilas pool set at 14

Joaquin Henson - The Philippine Star
Dy confirms Gilas pool set at 14
Tim Cone.
Philstar.com / Erwin Cagadas

MANILA, Philippines — After Gilas head coach Tim Cone expanded the national pool from 12 to 14 with the addition of Japeth Aguilar and Mason Amos, SBP executive director Erika Dy has ruled out bringing in more players to the group. Dy said Cone will stick to a compact unit.

Cone initially set a limit of 12 but later included Aguilar and Amos to cover for injuries or whatever reason that may make players unavailable for Gilas duty. Gilas’ next assignment is the Olympic Qualifying Tournament (OQT) in Riga, Latvia, on July 2-7.

Dy said Cone will recall the national players on June 22 to open camp at Inspire Sports Academy in Calamba. She said the plan is to spend a few days at Inspire then travel to Europe for tune-up games. Cone previously mentioned SBP has received invitations to play friendlies in Lithuania and Slovenia with both countries seeing action in separate OQTs.

Naturalized player Justin Brownlee is expected to join Gilas in the OQT. Dy confirmed that former San Miguel Beer import Bennie Boatwright has agreed to naturalization and will be Brownlee’s alternate.  Brownlee is 35 and Boatwright, 27 so they’ll take turns representing the country in future international competitions.

“We’ve spoken with Bennie and his agent,” said Dy. “Bennie’s committed. It’s a process to acquire naturalized citizenship as the application will go through the House and Senate.” In the House, SBP vice chairman Rep. Robbie Puno, Rep. Mikee Romero and Rep. Gus Tambunting were among the co-authors of the bill naturalizing Brownlee. In the Senate, the co-authors were SBP chairman Sen. Sonny Angara, Sen. Bong Go, Sen. Joel Villanueva and Sen. Bato de la Rosa with Sen. Francis Tolentino, chairman of the Committee on Justice and Human Rights, the sponsor of the measure.

Dy also said SBP’s grassroots program has gotten off the ground with coach Norman Black as head of the initiative. A few weeks ago, Black started the program in Cebu and will visit 16 regions by the end of the year to work with U16 and U12 players and conduct coaching clinics.  Dy is the only Asian chairperson in FIBA’s 13 commissions and working groups. She heads the FIBA Legal Commission with Puerto Rico’s Ramos Perales as deputy chair. The Commission’s role is recommendatory and advises the FIBA Central Board on legal matters.

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