The Philippine national men’s basketball team has released its 23-man pool for the FIBA World Cup qualifiers which begin in November.
Jayson Castro leads Gilas Pilipinas anew while naturalized player Andray Blatche makes his return to the national team after skipping the FIBA Asia Cup last August.
Also part of the pool are Calvin Abueva, Japeth Aguilar, Kevin Alas, Raymond Almazan, Baser Amer, Mac Belo, Carl Bryan Cruz, Russell Escoto, June Mar Fajardo, Kevin Ferrer, Jio Jalalon, Allein Maliksi, Gabe Norwood, Von Pessumal, RR Pogoy, Kiefer Ravena, LA Revilla, Terrence Romeo, Troy Rosario, Mike Tolomia and Matthew Wright.
The team started its preparations in a closed-door practice last Friday.
Gilas Pilipinas kicks off its campaign in an away game against Japan on November 24. The Filipinos will then host Chinese Taipei at the SMART-Araneta Coliseum on November 27.
The November games mark the beginning of FIBA’s new qualifying format, with first round games spread over six windows that last until July 2018.
The Filipinos need to finish in the top three of Group B which also includes Australia to move on to the second round of qualifying.