Waiting for PBA players

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    WILL the PBA stars show up?

    The second batch of players likely made up of pros in the Gilas Pilipinas bubble training is expected to arrive on Friday.

    Several of them have reportedly begged off due to injuries and mental stress of playing in the last Philippine Cup, however.

    NLEX guard Kiefer Ravena was the first PBA player who arrived at the Inspire Sports Academy in Calamba, Laguna last Jan. 10.

    Center Isaac Go led the initial amateur-laden 12 that included twins Matt and Mike Nieto, guard Rey Suerte, forward Javi Gomez de Liaño, guard Dave Ildefonso, and big men Justine Baltazar, Calvin Oftana, William Navarro, Kemark Cariño, and Ateneo slotman Angelo Kouame of Ivory Coast, a candidate for naturalization.

    Terrafirma wingman CJ Perez and Phoenix big man Justin Chua have joined Gilas last Jan. 15.

    The Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas has yet to announce the composition of the pool.

    Under Gilas program director Tab Baldwin, coaches Jong Uichico, Boyet Fernandez, Sandy Arespacochaga, Caloy Garcia, and Norman Black, the Filipino dribblers are training their sights on the qualifiers set on Feb. 18 to 22 in a bubble in Clark.

    Gilas squares off with old nemesis South Korea on Feb. 18, a reset of their initial match that was called off in the second window, in Group A action, according to a schedule released by the FIBA.

    The nationals clash with Indonesia on Feb. 20 and then South Korea on Feb. 22 anew.