PBA rookies CJ Perez and Robert Bolick make their Gilas Pilipinas debut on the big stage as they were named part of the official 12-man roster set to do battle in the 2019 FIBA World Cup that kicks off in China this week.
Perez and Bolick, the nos. 1 and 3 picks in the last draft, were joined in the lineup by June Mar Fajardo, Andray Blatche, Paul Lee, Japeth Aguilar, Roger Pogoy, Mark Barroca,
Raymund Almazan, Gabe Norwood, Troy Rosario, and the comebacking Kiefer Ravena.
Coach Yeng Guiao officially announced the national team composition Sunday night shortly after Gilas' second tune-up match against the visiting Adelaide 36ers.
Left out of the squad are pool members Beau Belga, Poy Erram, and Matthew Wright. Both Erram and Wright are nursing injuries.
"Of course, yung overall yung nakita natin, from the first day of Gilas practice to the last day, which is the decision time," said Guiao when asked what were the considerations made by the team coaching staff in naming the final 12 players.
"Nag-factor din diyan yung health din ng mga players, nag-factor din diyan yung cohesion that they provide with the rest of the team," added the Gilas coach. "Mahirap actually.
Ilang araw na namin pinag- uusapan yan. Of course there were also circumstances that played into the decision making."
The lineup was first shown to the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) hierarchy led by Chairman Emeritus Manny V. Pangilinan and President Al S. Panlilio for formal approval.
In a statement later, Panlilio called the players as the '12 gallant men who will fight for flag and country' in the World Cup.
"They would not have gotten this opportunity if it were not for the sacrifices of all the players, coaches, and staff that helped along the way throughout the FIBA Asian Qualifiers," said Panlilio.
"This is your Gilas Pilipinas and they'll do their best to represent the 100 million Filipinos and promote the Philippine brand of basketball on the world stage." (RG)