FIVE new faces including returnees Terrence Romeo and Calvin Abueva showed up in Gilas Pilipinas' first day of practice as it prepares for the 19th Southeast Asian Games.
The same reason goes for the inclusion of the 36-year-old Pringle, who was actually in the original list of 60 players - 30 of them from the PBA - drawn up by the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) and the Gilas Pilipinas coaching staff under former mentor Chot Reyes back then
Romeo and Abueva, who last played for the national team in 2018, was at the Philsports Arena on Monday along with newbies Mo Tautuaa, Jason Perkins, and Stanley Pringle for the start of what would be a grueling, compact training leading to the team's campaign in Hangzhou, China two weeks from now.
At least five mainstays from the Gilas team that battled in the just concluded FIBA World Cup was also around namely, June Mar Fajardo, Scottie Thompson, Roger Pogoy, and team captain Japeth Aguilar, along with pool members Chris Newsome and Calvin Oftana, and naturalized players Justine Brownlee and Ange Kouame.
Interim coach Tim Cone is pleased with the talent he has under his disposal, although the status of both Abueva and Perkins will still depend on the decision of the Hangzhou Asian Games Organizing Committee to allow the two in taking the place of injured players Brandon Ganuelas-Rosser and Jamie Malonzo.
The names of both Abueva and Perkins were not part of the 60-man list the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) submitted to the host country during the deadline of submission almost two months ago.
"Stanley is here as an alternate, as a 13th man. He's an alternate if anything happens, in case Calvin and Perk can't make it. He'll be one of the guys that we'll place in the lineup or in case somebody gets injured as such," said Cone.
"He's here because he knows the system. He's the logical choice for us and he's willing to be here with the idea that he may not make the (final) 12 but at this point, he's an alternate."
Also attending the practice that lasted for almost two hours, were team manager Alfrancis Chua and deputy team manager Willie Marcial, along with coaching staff members Jong Uichico, LA Tenorio, and Richard Del Rosario.
Gilas will continue practicing at the Philsports Arena on Friday, before shifting venue at the Inspire Sports Academy in Laguna either on Saturday or Sunday where the team trains behind closed-door. (RG)