CAN a combination of youth and experience hack it?
World Cup veterans and a sprinkling of amateur standouts try to prove their worth and lead a new-look Gilas Pilipinas to a rousing start.
After all the uncertainties due to the threat posed by the deadly coronavirus, Gilas launches its 2021 FIBA Asia Cup qualifiers campaign when it tackles Indonesia on Sunday, Feb. 23, at the Mahaka Arena in Jakarta.
The match is set at 7 p.m., with Gilas heavily-favored to hurdle the Indons.
Gilas players are set to leave today for the first window of the qualifiers. They were dribblers were supposed to clash with Thailand yesterday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum but the game was called off due to the coronavirus scare.
Interim coach Mark Dickel named his 12-man line-up last Wednesday night, led by 6-foot skipper Kiefer Ravena, Roger Pogoy, Troy Rosario, and CJ Perez, who all suited up for Gilas in the 2019 FIBA World Cup in China.
Big men JP Erram, Justin Chua and Abu Tratter complete the pros in the squad. The 6-foot-6 Chua and the 6-foot-7 Tratter are late additions to the pool after the likes of Japeth Aguilar, because of his honeymoon; Christian Standhardinger, Mac Mac Belo, and Matthew Wright, due to injuries, had begged off.
Also making the team are former Ateneo standouts Thirdy Ravena, Isaac Go, and Matt Nieto and Fil-Am Dwight Ramos, and University of the Philippines playmaker Juan Gomez de Liano.
Cut from the pool who will serve as reserves were pro Javee Mocon, former Fighting Maroon wingman Jaydee Tungcab and former University of the East gunner Rey Suerte.