Despite their rigid PBA and UAAP Season 85 schedules, 16 players turned up at Gilas Pilipinas’ third practice for the fifth window of the FIBA Basketball World Cup Asian Qualifiers on Monday night, October 3, at the Meralco gym.
Chris Newsome, who sustained a calf injury during Meralco Bolts’ first PBA Commissioner’s Cup game, was present although he sat on the sidelines in Gilas’ weekly training resumption along with naturalized candidate and Ginebra resident import Justin Brownlee while the other 14 did some routines on shooting and running different sets.
MVPs joined Gilas
PBA’s reigning most valuable player (MVP) Scottie Thompson, Japeth Aguilar, and Jamie Malonzo of Barangay Ginebra Gin Kings also joined the practice session after beating the Meralco Bolts, 99-91, in a hard-fought game.
They joined their Ginebra coach, Tim Cone, who along with Josh Reyes, is assisting Gilas Pilipinas head coach Chot Reyes.
UAAP MVP Ange Kouame along with collegiate standouts Carl Tamayo and Kevin Quiambao also attended the one-hour practice after seeing action for their respective schools over the weekend.
Reyes said, “We told the players, some of them had games last night (Sunday). Everyone has also practiced today (Monday), so we’re not gonna overextend them.”
“We have specific things that we want to achieve. We wanted to achieve a couple of things done and they went hard right away. These guys are in shape, but more importantly, get the opportunity of playing together,” Reyes said.
He also praised the players, saying, “I like the energy of the young players, but even more impressive was the energy of the PBA players, especially the Ginebra team, which just played a hard game on Sunday.”
Key San Miguel players June Mar Fajardo and CJ Perez, TNT cagers Roger Pogoy, Poy Erram, and Calvin Oftana, NorthPort’s Arvin Tolentino, William Navarro, and LeBron Lopez were also in full force as the national team prepares for their fifth window games against FIBA Asia Cup semifinalist Jordan on November 7 and Saudi Arabia on November 10.
Philippines FIBA ranking
Gilas’ fifth window performance will impact the Philippines’ FIBA World ranking.
The Philippines dropped to 41st place from its 33rd position in the September 18, 2022 ranking presented by Nike.
The Philippines amassed a total of 306.4 points to stay ahead of its Southeast Asia counterparts Indonesia (80th), Thailand (102nd), Singapore (113th), Malaysia (117th), Vietnam (139th), Brunei Darussalam (153rd), Cambodia (158th), and Myanmar (159th).
Gilas Pilipinas finished eighth overall in the 2022 FIBA Asia Cup in Indonesia in July when they absorbed a 102-81 beating from the Japanese. It was the worst finish for the national team since 2007 when a PBA-reinforced team with also coach Chot Reyes at the helm placed ninth.
The humiliating defeat was also the Philippines’ first loss to Japan in the FIBA Asia Cup in 19 years.
Gilas Pilipinas currently holds a 3-3 mark in the FIBA World Cup Asian qualifiers.
The men’s national basketball team is competing in the fifth window games without Utah Jazz star Jordan Clarkson and Adelaide and Kai Sotto.