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Ravena, Romeo and Blatche included in Philippines' 23-man squad for Asian Qualifiers
MANILA (FIBA Basketball World Cup 2019 Asian Qualifiers) - The Philippines national team will have a generally full complement of the country's top level talent for the Asian Qualifiers.
Rising star Kiefer Ravena is one of the big names to watch on this squad along with household name Terrence Romeo. Ravena was the second overall pick in the PBA Draft 2017 behind Filipino-German Christian Standhardinger, and the former wowed a lot of Asian hoop nuts at the recent FIBA Asia Champions Cup 2017, averaging a team-high 20.6 points per game.
Ravena was the 6th leading scorer at the FIBA Asia Champions Cup 2017
Romeo, of course, hardly needs any introduction. The flamboyant Filipino scorer can light it up at the drop of a hat and has been the stuff of YouTube legend since first breaking into the international scene in 2015. He led Gilas Pilipinas with 17.8 points per game at the FIBA Asia Cup 2017.
|Philippines 23-player squad for the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2019 Asian Qualifiers|
|Calvin Abueva||Japeth Aguilar||Kevin Alas||Raymond Almazan|
|Baser Amer||Mac Belo||Andray Blatche||Carl Cruz|
|Russell Escoto||June Mar Fajardo||Kevin Ferrer||Jio Jalalon|
|Allein Malicsi||Gabe Norwood||Von Pessumal||RR Pogoy|
|Kiefer Ravena||LA Revilla||Terrence Romeo||Troy Rosario|
|Mike Tolomia||Jayson Castro||Matthew Wright|
A rather surprising call-up is naturalized center Andray Blatche, who was sent back home to the United States by the Xinjiang Flying Tigers before the start of the 2017/18 CBA season due to injury. He is on the list of 23 names, but there is no official word yet on when he is expected to arrive in Manila to join the Gilas Pilipinas practices.
Eleven players who saw action for the Philippines at the FIBA Asia Cup 2017 in Beirut earlier this year were recalled to the national pool. The only omission is Standhardinger, the first overall pick in the recent PBA Draft 2017.
Some of the veterans in the lineup are Gabe Norwood, Jayson Castro, Japeth Aguilar and newly minted 4-time PBA MVP June Mar Fajardo, who earlier declared he is eager to make a bigger impact for the national team in the Asian Qualifiers. That will be a tall order, though, as the man nicknamed "The Kraken" will have to contain Japan's Takeuchi twins and Taipei's Quincy Davis in the first window this month.
The Philippines are in Group B with Australia, Chinese Taipei and Japan. They travel to Tokyo to face Japan at the Komazawa Olympic Park General Sports Gymnasium on 24 November and then host Chinese Taipei at the Smart Araneta Coliseum on 27 November.