MANILA, Philippines – Brothers Kiefer and Thirdy Ravena banner Gilas Pilipinas' 12-man lineup for the first window of the FIBA Asia Cup 2021 Qualifiers, where they will kick off their campaign against Indonesia.
Interim coach Mark Dickel announced the lineup on Wednesday, February 19, naming 7 PBA stars and 5 amateur standouts.
Gilas Pilipinas mainstays Roger Pogoy, Troy Rosario, CJ Perez, and Poy Erram will help Kiefer, who was named team captain, in providing leadership to first-timers Isaac Go, Juan Gomez de Liaño, and Matt Nieto.
PBA players Justin Chua and Abu Tratter – who were late additions to the pool – also cracked the lineup, while Dwight Ramos completed the team.
"It was not an easy team to pick," Dickel told reporters.
"We had numerous combinations that we could have gone with, and in a few positions, we felt like we had covered it with some young players so they had an advantage thinking towards the future."
Cut from the roster are Marc Pingris, Javee Mocon, Javi Gomez de Liaño, Jaydee Tungcab, Kobe Paras, Mike Nieto, Rey Suerte, Allyn Bulanadi, and Dave Ildefonso.
Mocon, Suerte, and Tungcab, though, will serve as reserves.
"We felt that the PBA players that we picked gave us a really, really good base to build off and then the other 4 or 5 younger players can complement them," Dickel said.
Gilas Pilipinas will have two more practices before flying to Indonesia on Friday, February 21, as they tangle on Sunday, February 23.
Delfin Dioquino dreamt of being a PBA player, but he did not have the skills to make it. So he pursued the next best thing to being an athlete – to write about them. He took up journalism at the University of Santo Tomas and joined Rappler as soon as he graduated in 2017.