Just days before flying to Manama for its first game in Bahrain, the Gilas Pilipinas’ 16-man pool for the 2021 FIBA Asia Cup Qualifiers has buckled down to work on Friday afternoon.

/ 14 November 2020

Ateneo Blue Eagles center Angelo Kouame headlines the pool, along with his former teammates Isaac Go, Matt and Mike Nieto, and current Ateneo cagers Dwight Ramos, Will Navarro, and Dave Ildefonso.

Also included are Cebuano hotshot Rey Suerte, center Justine Baltazar, former UP Fighting Maroon Jaydee Tungcab, San Beda’s Calvin Oftana and Kenmark Cariño. Rounding out the list are Allyn Bulanadi, Kobe Paras, brothers Juan and Javi Gomez de Liaño.

In a statement, the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) said it got the approval for the Gilas men to train for the competition in a bubble-like campus at the Inspire Sports Academy in Calamba, Laguna.

“The SBP is happy to announce that we have received the go-ahead from Chief Implementer of the National Action Plan Against COVID-19 Secretary Carlito Galvez, Jr. and the Deputy Chief Implementer Undersecretary Vince Dizon to start training for our Gilas Pilipinas Men’s Team in preparation for the 2021 FIBA Asia Cup Qualifiers, which will happen from November 26 to 30 in Manama, Bahrain,” said SBP President Al Panlilio.

“The SBP already had a plan in place to form a team for the November window weeks ago but we had to make sure we did everything by the book because of the current situation,” he added.

With the training camp only going to be a short one, the youthful 16-man pool wasted no time beginning its buildup for the November window of the 2021 Fiba Asia Cup qualifiers.

SBP program director Tab Baldwin has formed an intriguing cadets core, one the country can utilize in the ensuing international competitions with or without PBA reinforcements.

The Philippines, currently sporting a 1-0 win-loss record in Group A, is set to take on Thailand on November 26, Korea on November 28, and Thailand anew on November 30.