Freeman Cebu Sports

Gilas big men ready to step up

The Freeman

CEBU, Philippines — With two big men sitting out the first window of the FIBA Asia Cup qualifiers this week, Gilas Pilipinas will have a next-man-up mentality coming into the games.

Both AJ Edu and June Mar Fajardo will be sitting out the Gilas games against Hong Kong and Chinese Taipei.  Edu suffered a torn meniscus, while Fajardo will have to rest his calf that was injured during the PBA Commissioner’s Cup finals.

In Edu’s stead, the Nationals tapped longtime Philippine team big man Japeth Aguilar. Fajardo has no replacement, giving Gilas just 11 players.

Kai Sotto will be the lone bona fide center for Gilas, whose rest of the roster includes Aguilar, CJ Perez, Jamie Malonzo, Dwight Ramos, Kevin Quiambao, Justin Brownlee, Scottie Thompson, Chris Newsome, Carl Tamayo and Calvin Oftana.

Sotto said that with the absence of Edu and Fajardo, the rest of the team will have to step up.

“Big props to Kuya Japeth to step in for that spot and of course. We have a next man up [mentality] for all the players,” the 7-foot-3 Sotto said. “We’re missing two key players, so the rest will have to step up and everybody’s ready to step up when it comes to this window.” — (FREEMAN)

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