AN all-amateur Gilas Pilipinas side got the job done in the second window of the 2021 FIBA Asia Cup qualifiers and they are bound to be amply rewarded.
Gilas coach Jong Uichico said for starters, all members of the team in the qualifiers in Manama, Bahrain will have the chance to be called up in the third window in February next year anew.
“All of them. All of them are in contention to have a spot in the third window in February.
All of them have equal chances,” said Uichico, who spoke after his wards capped an emphatic two-game sweep of Thailand with a 93-69 victory in Group A.
“We will make that assessment come next year when we start our training camp again and we will make our decisions from there,” he added.
In the nationals’ 93-61 thumping of the Thais in their opener last Friday, Ateneo guard Dwight Ramos and teammates Dave Ildefonso and Will Navarro, University of the Philippines’ Kobe Paras, Juan Gomez de Liaño, and Javi Gomez de Liaño, La Salle big man Justine Baltazar, former Blue Eagles’ Isaac Go, Matt Nieto and Mike Nieto, former University of the East standout Rey Suerte, and San Beda University center Kemark Cariño were named to the final 12.
Reigning NCAA MVP Calvin Oftana of the Red Lions and Jaydee Tungcab were cut but made it to the final 12 in the second match last Monday. They replaced Navarro and Mike Nieto.
Wingman Allyn Bulanadi was the only player in the 15-strong Gilas squad that went to Bahrain who did not suit up in any of the two games due to a dislocated right shoulder injury.
The Filipino dribblers’ impressive campaign understandably pleased Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas president Al Panlilio.
“Having young players come together at such a short time and still perform tremendously gives me so much excitement for what the future holds for Philippine basketball,” Panlilio, who was also elected as Philippine Olympic Committee first vice president recently, said.