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Alapag, Lee bolster Gilas World Cup bid
MANILA (FIBA Basketball World Cup) - Jim Alapag and Paul Lee will be with the Philippines when they travel to the FIBA Basketball World Cup in Spain.
Both players were thought to be on the fringe of selection, but coach Chot Reyes has elected to take both to Seville for Group B games against Argentina, Croatia, Greece, Senegal and Puerto Rico, and he's done so for good reason.
Lee's inclusion was due in part to Larry Fonacier's decision to rest this summer after picking up various knocks the past couple of years.
Lee had the opportunity to play for Gilas at the FIBA Asia Championship in Manila but passed on the opportunity.
When Reyes named him in the preliminary group of players that would contend for spots in the World Cup squad, the 25-year-old said confidently that he could not only make the final squad but strengthen it.
"I think my toughness will be my most important contribution to the team," he said.
"We have excellent guards in Jayson (William), LA (Tenorio) and Jimmy (Alapag).
"But in the World Cup, the other teams' guards will be much taller and heftier.
"And so, I think my role can be to defend against these big guards."
Members of the side that finished second at last year's FIBA Asia Championship to claim spots on the World Cup roster are Alapag, Lewis Alfred 'LA' Tenorio, Jeff Chan, Jayson William, Gary David, Ranidel de Ocampo, Gabriel Norwood, June Mar Fajardo, Japeth Aguilar and Jean Marc Pingris.
Reyes is one of the Philippines biggest cheerleaders and just as he has for the past several months, he took to Twitter to talk about the team.
He tweeted: "We are tapping Paul Lee to take Larry Fonacier's spot & Andray Blatche as our naturalized player for the World Cup. God bless us all #PUSO!"
Gilas have found the going tough in their August friendly games.
Philippines squad for FIBA Basketball World Cup: Jim Alapag, Andray Blatche, June Mar Fajardo, Japeth Aguilar, Ranidel de Ocampo, Marc Pingris, Gabe Norwood, Jeff Chan, Gary David, Lewis Alfred 'LA' Tenorio, Paul Lee and Jayson William.