The Philippines has already qualified for the 2023 FIBA Worlds being the host country, but Gilas Pilipinas still needs to field the best players available for the sixth window.
It is expected that the Gilas team heading into the final window of the FIBA World Cup Asian Qualifiers will include several PBA stars from Barangay Ginebra, San Miguel Beermen and TNT Tropang Giga. Given their tight schedules in the upcoming Governors’ Cup, count on the aforementioned franchises to lend their top players to the national team next month.
With that in mind, we came up with a mock lineup for Gilas when they face Lebanon and Jordan on the 24th and 27th of February, respectively. In making these selections, we presumed that the host team wants to gain tremendous momentum as the Basketball World Cup approaches.
June Mar Fajardo – SMB
Japeth Aguilar – Ginebra
Poy Erram – TNT
It’s been a while since we last saw Fajardo in a Gilas uniform. The sixth window is a good opportunity to get him back in the thick of international competition. As for Aguilar, his length and defensive presence are always needed, while Erram should serve as a reliable backup.
Jamie Malonzo – Ginebra
Calvin Oftana – TNT
We’ve seen in the recently concluded Commissioner’s Cup Finals what Jamie Malonzo can really do. He is an ultra-athletic 3-and-D, which is a valuable asset in this era of basketball. TNT’s Calvin Oftana is of the same mold as the former Green Archer. But while he isn’t as fast and springy as Ginebra’s newest star, the San Beda product has exhibited a little more versatility on offense in the past.
Scottie Thompson – Ginebra
CJay Perez – SMB
RR Pogoy – TNT
We already know what these guys can do in the big stage. It doesn’t matter to them where they play or who their up against, these trio will perform and help their team succeed.
Non-PBA Players wish list
Kai Sotto – NBL
Dwight Ramos – B. league
Ray Parks – B. League
Barring conflicts from prior commitments, Kai teaming up with June Mar will make the Gilas frontcourt rock-solid, while Ramos and Parks should be able to help immensely with the team’s ball-handling and outside game.
Justin Brownlee – Ginebra
It’s about time we see Justin Noypi in action for the Team Philippines. He’s been teasing us for years with his excellent play, and great chemistry with the locals of Ginebra. We just can’t wait to see him bring the same energy to Gilas Pilipinas.
Before Gilas faces the two formidable Middle Eastern teams at the Philippine Arena in Bocaue, Bulacan, all three PBA clubs are slated to play their final game of February on the 19th. They will return on March to finish off the rest of their schedule.