Gilas Youth’s new look kicks off FIBA U16 Asian Championship bid
Coached by Caelum Harris, Gilas Youth start their FIBA U16 Asia Championship in Qatar against Kuwait before facing off with Japan to cap the group stage
MANILA, Philippines — Gilas Youth is aiming for a third FIBA Basketball World Cup appearance in four years.
But that’s easier said than done as the Philippines face tough competition when they kick off their campaign in the FIBA U16 Asian Championship in Doha, Qatar against Kuwait on Monday, June 13. .
Led by Caelum Harris, Gilas Youth will also face Japan in the group stage of the tournament which serves as the qualifier for the FIBA U17 Basketball World Cup in Malaga, Spain in July.
“I hope everyone surprises everyone,” Philippines head coach Josh Reyes said as the national team held overseas and local trials to determine the 15 players who will fly to Qatar.
Along with Harris, Lebron Nieto, Jacob Bayla, Jared Bahay, Jayden Jones, Kristian Porter, Zain Mahmood, Alex Konov, Renzo Competente, Mikhail Romero, Apl Mcandrei Gemao and Sebastian Reyes make up the 12-man roster.
Veejay Pre, Joseph Pangilinan and Elijah Yusi are the reserves.
“Until we get there and play in the actual games, I think it’s not going to be accurate to say who’s going to surprise,” Reyes said.
“We never know who can come out big. But no matter who can put up great statistics. It has to be teamwork for us.
The top team from each of the four groups will qualify directly for the quarter-finals, while the next two top teams will fight for their tournament life in the playoffs.
Only the top four finishers in the 13-team competition will book their tickets to Spain.
For Reyes, reaching the World Cup has been made much more difficult now that the national youth team no longer has NBA aspirant Kai Sotto in its fold.
Sotto, who recently turned 20, helped the Philippines qualify for the FIBA U17 Basketball World Cup 2018 in Argentina and the FIBA U19 Basketball World Cup 2019 in Greece.
“We’re not the same youth team that qualified for two World Cups in the past, where we had an obvious focal point in Kai Sotto,” Reyes said.
“This time we will try to win and we have to win games as a collective unit.” – Rappler.com