By Kevin Sox
Gilas Pilipinas men head coach Yeng Guiao has met with the members of the men’s national basketball team on Thursday night at the Meralco Gym as the squad started its preparation for the 2019 FIBA Basketball World Cup in China in August.
Guiao, who took over the reigns of the national team in the middle of their World Cup qualification bid in 2018, met with familiar faces in the group, including five-time PBA MVP June Mar Fajardo and Gilas regulars Gabe Norwood, Jayson Castro, Marcio Lassiter, Mark Barroca, Troy Rosario, Roger Pogoy, Poy Erram, and Raymond Almazan.
Per an online source, Gilas men will start formal practice on Monday amidst the on-going PBA Commissioner’s Cup. Naturalized player Andray Blatche is set to come in on July 8.
On the other hand, Filipino-American Jordan Clarkson looks doubtful to be part of the squad for the World Cup, according to PhilStar’s Joaquin Henson.
Per Henson, Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas’ Sonny Barrios said Clarkson is “doubtful for the World Cup” because of FIBA’s eligibility rules which have not been amended.
Players still need to have acquired a passport under the country they are playing for in order to be considered a local.
Gilas will look to go with Blatche as it stands for the lone naturalized player spot, as his height is needed against the Philippines’ primary opposition: Serbia, Italy, and Angola.
Only two from Gilas’ group will advance to the knockout stages of the World Cup.