MANILA, Philippines—Brothers Kiefer and Thirdy Ravena will lead Gilas Pilipinas when the country plays Indonesia in the FIBA Asia Cup 2021 qualifiers on February 23.
Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) announced the 12-man lineup on Wednesday night, with Kiefer one of seven PBA players on the roster.
Also included were Justin Chua, Poy Erram, CJ Perez, Roger Pogoy, Troy Rosario and Abu Tratter.
Thirdy Ravena, Isaac Go, Juan Gomez de Liaño, Matt Nieto and Dwight Ramos complete the lineup.
SBP president Al Panlilio was pleased with the "balance of youth and experience" of the squad, noting that seven of them already have experience in playing international basketball. The amateurs, meanwhile, "are raring to represent the country and introduce themselves to the international basketball scene."
"It will be a long journey to the FIBA Asia Cup," Panlilio said in a statement. "But we're confident that our team will once again show the region what Philippine basketball is all about."
Gilas interim coach Mark Dickel said that while the team will lean on the PBA veterans, the amateurs have also played in several FIBA age-group tournaments that gave them a solid foundation as far as international basketball is concerned.
"The team in the last two days of practice have made it much, much easier to pick," he told reporters after their training session at Meralco Gym, which featured a spirited scrimmage toward the end.
"We felt that the PBA players that we picked gave us a really, really good base to build off. And then, the other four or five younger players can complement them.
"So, that was the decision that was made. That's why we made it, we feel this will give us the best chance in this window to do well."
Still, making the cuts was tough. Dickel said that excluding Javee Mocon, in particular, was a difficult decision. The Rain Or Shine forward had impressed when he was added to the pool last week.
"I just felt like we had other players that were younger at his position, that for the future are really good," Dickel explained. "It's just unlucky for Javee, and when I told him today . . . I mean he was nothing but professional."
Leaving out former San Sebastian star Allyn Bulanadi was also tough, but Dickel said "his time will come."
"You gotta pick the best players that are in the group, and I felt we did that," he also said. "For the players that missed out, really unfortunate for them."
"But for the players that made it, they earned their spots, so. They're gonna have to go on Sunday in Indonesia and perform."
Mocon will still be part of the team as a reserve, along with JD Tungcab and Rey Suerte.
The full Gilas Pilipinas lineup:
- Justin Chua
- Poy Erram
- Isaac Go
- Juan Gomez di Liano
- Matt Nieto
- CJ Perez
- Roger Pogoy
- Dwight Ramos
- Kiefer Ravena
- Thirdy Ravena
- Troy Rosario
- Abu Tratter
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