Follow the World Cup on Facebook
Pogoy, Almazan and Blatche return to Philippines pool for final window
MANILA (FIBA Basketball World Cup 2019 Asian Qualifiers) - A number of veterans have returned in full force for the Philippines as they aim for a World Cup spot in the final Asian Qualifiers window next month.
2019 FIBA World Cup: SBP, Gilas 14-man pool ready for ‘must-win’ games https://t.co/KS2LKrfEyb— ABS-CBN News (@ABSCBNNews) January 15, 2019
RR Pogoy, Raymond Almazan and Andray Blatche will reprise their roles in the Asian Qualifiers after missing the last two windows, while Mark Barroca makes a comeback to the national team after last seeing action in the FIBA Asia Cup 2011.
|Philippines 14-man pool for the Asian Qualifiers' sixth window|
|Japeth Aguilar||Raymond Almazan||Mark Barroca||Andray Blatche|
|Jayson Castro||JP Erram||June Mar Fajardo||Marcio Lassiter|
|Paul Lee||Gabe Norwood||RR Pogoy||Troy Rosario|
|Scottie Thompson||Christian Standhardinger|
They join a group that went winless in the previous window's two home games and that will be raring to return to their winning ways in the final window before the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2019 in China.
No less than Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) President Al Panlilio admitted that the Filipinos are under a lot of pressure as their last two Asian Qualifiers assignments are must-win affairs, but he also believes they have put together a team worthy of clinching a berth in the World Cup.
Panlilio also thanked the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) for releasing the players on the SBP's wishlist and for adjusting the league's calendar to accommodate the Asian Qualifiers' final window.
"As this window is critical in our campaign, we would like to thank again the support of the PBA for making the PBA players available," said Panlilio. "We are also happy to announce that Andray Blatche has committed to help our drive to qualify for the FIBA World Cup in China."
Panlilio confirmed that the former NBA player will come to Manila in the first week of February, while the national team are expected to resume their practice sessions starting 21 January. The SBP also plans to send the team to the Gulf Region to play a series of tune-up matches in the second week of February.
The Filipinos are currently in a dangerous situation, sitting behind Japan in Group F and just a win ahead of Kazakhstan in the team standings. There are just 4 FIBA Asia slots up for grabs, with Iran, the Philippines, Japan, Kazakhstan, Lebanon and Jordan all still fighting for a chance to play on international basketball's most prestigious tournament.
The Philippines will begin their final window campaign on the road against Qatar on 21 February 21 before taking on Kazakhstan on 25 February.