Sep 19, 2023

Perez, four others tapped to bolster Gilas team

GILAS Pilipinas added CJ Perez and four others in its pool of players headed to the 19th Asian Games.

Together with Perez, who returns to the national team following his stint in the FIBA World Cup, also named as part of Gilas are Kevin Alas, Arvin Tolentino, and CJ's San Miguel teammates Marcio Lassiter and Chris Ross.

The five were included as possible replacement following the uncertainty of Calvin Abueva, Jason Perkins, Mo Tautuaa, and Terrence Romeo's playing status in the Hangzhou Asiad.

Apparently, all four were not in the latest list of 37 players received by the Hangzhou Asian Games Organizing Committee (HAGOC) from which the final 12-man team will be picked.

Last summer, a 60-man list had been submitted to the committee in which Tautuaa and Romeo were included, but not Abueva and Perkins, whose cases are supposed to be the only ones Gilas Pilipinas are going to appeal.

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Coach Tim Cone said the team is expecting to hear from HAGOC within the next few days on whether Abueva and Co. will be allowed to play or not.

"Now we have five new players on the team starting today if the other four are still turned down," said the Gilas Pilipinas mentor.

"We hope to know that within the next 24 to 48 hours whether they're still available. So we're still trying different avenues to try to get them settled, but it doesn't look good."

But team manager Alfrancis Chua, who joined Cone in the special presser at the PBA Office in Libis together with Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) president Al S. Panlilio, PBA chairman Ricky Vargas, vice chairman Bobby Rosales, and commissioner and deputy team manager Willie Marcial, lauded the sacrifices of the entire team, most specially the eight players whose status remain hanging in the balance.

"Yung 16 na ito very special to us sa puso namin," said Chua, also the San Miguel Corporation (SMC) sports director. "Medyo masakit para sa amin kasi kami ni Tim ang kumausap sa mga batang ito. Kaya nagpapasalamat ako sa kanila."

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The remaining regular players to complete the lineup are June Mar Fajardo, Japeth Aguilar, Scottie Thompson, Chris Newsome, Calvin Oftana, Ange Kouame, and Justin Brownlee.

Due to health reason, Roger Pogoy already begged off from the team, with Lassiter taking over his place.

The team is scheduled to leave for China on Saturday.(RG)