WILL the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas change its mind and tap PBA players for Gilas Pilipinas in the November window of the 2021 FIBA Asia Cup qualifiers?
That becomes an option with four PBA teams likely getting booted out today at the end of the Philippine Cup’s 11-game eliminations in Angeles City, Pampanga.
If and when they want to play and their ballclubs give the greenlight, the likes of wingman CJ Perez of Terrafirma, guard Robert Bolick and big man Christian Standhardinger of NorthPort; Blackwater forward Mac Belo, NLEX guard Kiefer Ravena; and forward Javee Mocon of Rain or Shine could boost Gilas.
The Dyip, Batang Pier, and the Elite have been eliminated in the PBA bubble, while Ravena’s Road Warriors and Mocon’s Elasto Painters are fighting for the last slot in the eight-team quarterfinals.
Ravena, Perez, and Bolick saw action for Gilas in last year’s FIBA World Cup in China. Bolick has recovered from an ACL injury and did not join NorthPort in Pampanga.
With still no naturalized player, the 6-foot-8 Standhardinger can fill up the slot.
The Filipino dribblers clash with Thailand on Nov. 26; South Korea two days later, and Thailand anew on Nov. 30, according to a schedule posted on the FIBA website under a bubble set-up in Manama, Bahrain.
Citing the health perils and uncertainties posed by the dreaded COVID-19 pandemic, Korea has reportedly pulled out of the November window.
Gilas has the option to field a squad bannered by collegiate standouts such as big man Isaac Go, guard Rey Suerte, wingman Allyn Bulanadi, and twins Matt and Mike Nieto, all Gilas special draftees last year, and wingman Jaydee Tungcab.
Amateur stars Kobe Paras of University of the Philippines, reigning NCAA MVP Calvin Oftana of San Beda University, Ateneo guard Dave Ildefonso, and brothers Javi and Juan Gomez de Liaño also hinted that they set for training.