Baldwin trims Philippines squad ahead of European tour
MANILA (2016 FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournaments) - The Philippines will have a different look at the FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament (OQT) in Manila next month, something that was assured when coach Tab Baldwin announced his latest preliminary squad.
Only seven of the 12 players to have featured last year at the FIBA Asia Championship are in the 14-man group that is to leave for Greece this week on a 17-day tour of Europe.
|Philippines 14-player squad for OQT in Manila
|June Mar Fajardo
|Ranidel De Ocampo
Ray Parks, who spent this season in the NBDL with the Texas Legends, is among those still fighting for a spot on the OQT team. A near certainty to make the final roster, meanwhile, would appear to be Gabe Norwood following a glowing assessment of his worth by coach Tab Baldwin.
"Let's spare a thought to that stat sheet and what it says about Gabe Norwood," Baldwin said. "Have a look at his points and have a look at his plus minus. If you want see a guy that makes a quiet contribution, that's Gabe Norwood."
The Philippines, who depart for Greece on 10 June, will host their OQT 5-10 July and take on France and New Zealand in Group B. In Group A will be Turkey, Senegal and Canada. Only the side that wins the OQT will clinch a spot in the Rio de Janeiro Olympics.
Gilas finished runners-up at the last couple of FIBA Asia Championships, including in 2013 when the country staged the competition. Gilas also played at the 2014 FIBA Basketball World Cup in Spain, where they claimed a victory over Senegal.
At last year's FIBA Asia Championship in Changsha-Hunan, Baldwin's side looked good on their way to the title game but fell to hosts China. The Chinese, therefore, qualified directly for the Olympics.