Gilas expecting Japan B. League stars for next FIBA window
Dwight Ramos, Ray Parks and brothers Kiefer and Thirdy Ravena are expected to strengthen Gilas Pilipinas in the fifth window of FIBA Basketball World Cup Qualifiers.
MANILA, Philippines — Gilas Pilipinas awaits the arrival of several Japan B. League stalwarts as he ramps up his training for the fifth window of the FIBA Basketball World Cup Asian Qualifiers in November.
Dwight Ramos, Ray Parks and brothers Kiefer and Thirdy Ravena are set to return to the country next week to join the national basketball team’s training for a pair of away games against Jordan (November 10) and Saudi Arabia (13 November).
“FIBA has a directive to all leagues in the world that players cannot be stopped from playing for their national teams,” Gilas coach Chot Reyes said.
Most leagues in the region will pause to make way for the FIBA window, including the Japan B. League which will hold its last play date on Wednesday, October 26, before resuming action on November 19.
The PBA is scheduled for a brief break from October 31 to November 4, where Gilas hopes to train daily before leaving on November 7.
Besides the League B players, Gilas Pilipinas plans to bring in naturalized player Ange Kouame while trying to find ways to fit in 7ft 3in center Kai Sotto.
Sotto plays for the Adelaide 36ers of the National Basketball League (NBL) in Australia, who will also be taking a 10-day break in time for the FIBA window.
Reyes is hoping for Sotto’s inclusion along with June Mar Fajardo for the fifth window as the PBA big man star continues to recover from his throat surgery.
In the previous window, Sotto teamed up with NBA star Jordan Clarkson when the Philippines played an away game against Lebanon on August 26 and a home game against Saudi Arabia on August 29.
“Hopefully we can get Kai,” Reyes said. “Like in Japan, we know that on a certain date… [the Filipino players will] be available by then and we hope the same for Kai.
Last Monday, Gilas returned to training with 10 players taking part in the weekly session.
PBA stars like reigning MVP Scottie Thompson, Japeth Aguilar and Jamie Malonzo of Barangay Ginebra have joined training along with Roger Pogoy, Calvin Oftana and Poy Erram of TNT and Arvin Tolentino of NorthPort.
Meralco’s Chris Newsome returned after being sidelined for several weeks with a calf contusion, while amateur stars Kevin Quiambao of La Salle and Francis Lopez of Ateneo also attended practice.
Naturalized player candidate and Barangay Ginebra importer, Justin Brownlee, has been under bad weather and has been advised to rest, while Ange Kouame, the current naturalized player, had school obligations. – Rappler.com