Philippines announce OQT roster
MANILA (2016 FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournaments) - Philippines head coach Tab Baldwin has decided on his final 12-man roster for the 2016 FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament (OQT) in Manila.
The national team boss has included as much size as possible while parading some of the country’s most promising young talents.
|Philippines 12-player roster for 2016 FIBA OQT in Manila
|Ranidel de Ocampo
|June Mar Fajardo
|Bobby Ray Parks, Jr.
June Mar Fajardo, who played at the 2014 FIBA Basketball World Cup but did not feature at last year's FIBA Asia Championship, is back in the team and at 2.08m in height is one of the team's biggest players. The versatile Blatche is 2.11m.
The up-and-comers that will gain valuable experience at the world level are former FIBA 3x3 star Terrence Romeo and products of the country's youth national team pool, Bobby Ray Parks, Jr. and Troy Rosario.
Romeo, 24, has already played an important role for the national team in an important tournament. He averaged more than 12 points per game at last year's continental tournament in Changsha-Hunan as the Philippines finished runners-up to hosts China.
Baldwin commended both players for their dedication to the national cause and thanked them for their efforts.
I have great gratitude to both Gilas vets for their Pinoy pride, total dedication and enduring passion for this team. True warriors.— Tab Baldwin (@iHob1111) June 26, 2016
The Philippines will play France and New Zealand in Group B of the Manila OQT, which tips off on 5 July, while Senegal, Turkey and Canada will be in Group A. Only the winner of the event will make it to the Olympics.
Chot Reyes, who coached Gilas at the 2013 FIBA Asia Championship and the following year's World Cup, knows how difficult it can be to come up with a final squad. He empathized with Baldwin.
Gilas Pilipinas took on China in a preparation game on Sunday night and prevailed, 72-69. Coach Baldwin utilized his final 12-man roster in that victory.
If the Philippines win the OQT, they will play in an Olympics for the first time since 1972.