Gilas brace for fifth window

The job is far from over as Gilas Pilipinas begins plotting its plans for the November window of the FIBA World Cup Asian Qualifiers.

Gilas head coach Chot Reyes said the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas is back to the drawing board as they expect a tougher situation in the fifth window of the qualifiers.

Although all local leagues are already in full swing by that time, Reyes said the Philippine Basketball Association, University Athletic Association of the Philippines and National Collegiate Athletic Association committed to lend their players to play in the next year-ending window.

The embattled tactician even floated the possibility of the leagues having a two-week break to give way for the Nationals’ training.

The Philippines, sporting a 3-3 card, will face Jordan on 10 November, before capping its 2022 season in a rematch with Saudi Arabia on the 13th.

“We’ve already talked about it with the PBA, they’re going to make some players available, including the UAAP and the NCAA,” Reyes said.

“In the SBP meeting last month, they said that the UAAP and the NCAA are willing (to lend players).”

“If necessary, call a two-week break to accommodate and two allow players that we may select to come and play in the November window.”

Prior to this development, Reyes warned that Gilas might have a hard time fielding a team that will compete in the upcoming window.

The PBA will be nearing its Commissioner’s Cup playoff by that month while the UAAP and NCAA are slated to open their respective seasons in the middle of September.

Other international leagues with Filipino talents like the Japanese B.League of Kiefer Ravena, Ray Parks, Dwight Ramos and Thirdy Ravena will open their season in October.

Kai Sotto, who plays for Adelaide 36ers in Australia, is expected to start his sophomore year by October as well.

While Reyes and the federation are still thinking of ways to tap the abroad-based cagers again, it’s already a bit of relief that he can bank on the local leagues to loan their top players for national duty.

“We’re looking forward to that. Nothing is set in stone yet but the discussions have already started,” Reyes said.

Meantime, Parks believes Clarkson and Sotto will be definite threats when the FIBA Basketball World Cup unfolds next year.

After playing with Clarkson and Sotto in the FIBA World Cup Asian Qualifiers last Monday, the 28-year-old Parks said the duo of the two cagers will be a solid force that can carry Gilas against the best teams in the biggest cagefest co-hosted by the Philippines, Japan, and Indonesia soon.

Just like most Filipino hopefuls, he couldn’t wait to see them perform in a much bigger stage.

“Freakishly talented, I’m excited to see a bright future for Kai. JC has a lot in store on his young career in the NBA,” Parks said.

“I just wanna be a part of it, I wanna be a witness like everybody else.”

Clarkson and Sotto definitely lived up to the expectations.

Although they split their games with Lebanon and Saudi Arabia, Sotto’s power down low and Clarkson’s offensive firepower showed glimpses of what they can bring in the World Cup.

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