A mix of young, veteran Gilas for the Asiad

Gilas team players (from left) Kobe Paras, Andray Blatche and Terrence Romeo. (A Blatche Facebook image)

A CONFLICT of schedule between the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) and Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) did not hamper the assembly of a fighting team for the 18th Asian Games set August 18-September 2 in Jakarta.

Naturalized player Andray Blatche and seasoned international campaigner Jason Castro will be at the helm when the national cagers shoot for redemption in Asia’s most prestigious multi-sport event.

Blatche, who is set to power Gilas Pilipinas in the third window of the FIBA World Cup Asian Qualifiers, will be the cornerstone of the squad that is a combination of Talk ‘N Text and top Gilas cadet players based on Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas’ agreement with the PBA board.

Aside from Blatche and Castro, also included in the roster are TNT stalwarts Terrence Bill Romeo, Roger Ray Pogoy, Caledonio Trollano, Anthony Semerad, Jeth Troy Rosario, Kelly Williams and Jericho Cruz as well as rising stars Ricci Rivero, Kobe Paras and Abu Tratter.

Gilas Pilipinas head coach Chot Reyes admitted forming the squad had never been easy since the Asian Games is in conflict with the schedule of the PBA.

The pro league also gave way to the remaining windows of the FIBA World Cup Asian Qualifiers.

“That’s the statement released by the PBA. That’s all part of the consideration,” said Reyes, who mentored the squad to a seventh-place finish in the previous Asian Games in Incheon, South Korea in 2014.

“That’s why it’s tough to come up with a final roster because we have to consider so many things.”

The final roster of the men’s basketball team was submitted to chief of mission Richard Gomez last June 15.

Gomez will forward the list to the Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) executive council for final confirmation this week.

Then, it will be formally submitted to the Indonesia Asian Games Organizing Committee on or before June 30.

p: wjg