Gilas Pilipinas head coach Chot Reyes revealed on Tuesday night the final roster for the 2017 FIBA Asia Cup slated next month in Lebanon. Leading the squad is Asia’s best point guard Jayson Castro. With naturalized center Andray Blatche’s non-inclusion in the lineup, beefing up the frontline will be reigning three-time PBA MVP June Mar Fajardo, Japeth Aguilar, Calvin Abueva and Filipino-German Christian Standarhinger. Longtime mainstay Gabe Norwood, meanwhile, makes his return to national team duties.
Reports say Blatche’s absence was due to his concerns regarding the current safety and security situation in Lebanon, although the team has yet to release an official statement regarding the former NBA player. Rounding up the Final 12 are Raymon Almazan, Terrence Romeo, Jio Jalalon, RR Pogoy, Matthew Wright, and Carl Bryan Cruz.
From August to 20, Gilas Pilipinas will grind it out in the first ever Asia-Oceania joint continental Championship along with 15 other top teams, including Oceanian powerhouses Australia and New Zealand. The tournament serves as a qualifier – where seven slots are up for grabs – for the 2019 Basketball World Cup to be hosted by China.
Photo credit: FIBA.com