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Gilas Unveil FIBA World Cup Pool with Clarkson, Brownlee, and Kouame as Naturalized Prospects

GIlas Unveils FIBA World Cup Pool
James Francisco

With the 2023 FIBA World Cup just around the corner, Gilas Pilipinas looks to defend its home turf, with the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) releasing its pool of candidates to fortify the formidable campaign. The 21-man roster sees the convergence of youth and experience, procuring proficient international and local talents behind the Chot Reyes-led mantle.

Looking to secure the sole naturalization spot, Utah Jazz’s Jordan Clarkson, Barangay Ginebra’s Justin Brownlee, and Former-Ateneo Blue Eagle Angelo Kouame are perceived as the front-runners of the selection—noting their previous experiences as members of the national squad. On paper, Clarkson may pose as the formidable option, portrayed through his impressive tenure at Salt Lake, though nothing has been “written in the stars” regarding the former sixth-man-of-the-year’s slot on the global stage.

Accustomed to the scrappy and intense competition, Gilas Pilipinas sees the possible addition of a 7-foot-3 big man, Kai Sotto, as a gleaming threat inside the paint. Scheduled to join the camp in its latter stages in pursuit of his NBA aspirations, size seems to pose as no trouble seeing the towering trio of the 6-foot-10 University of Toledo alumnus AJ Edu, as well as World Cup veterans in 6-foot-10 June Mar Fajardo of San Miguel, and 6-foot-9 Japeth Aguilar of Barangay Ginebra at the four and five.

Retreating from neighboring leagues, Gilas looks to the participation of locally-bred Japan B-League residents in Dwight Ramos, Kiefer and Thirdy Ravena, Jordan Heading, Carl Tamayo, and Ray Parks. Letran Knight turned Anyang KGC champion Rhenz Abando rounds up the pool of internationally-based talent, being the sole representative of the Korean Basketball league.

Ginebra’s 2021 Most Valuable Player Scottie Thompson and forward Jamie Malonzo, TNT’s Roger Pogoy, Calvin Oftana, and Poy Erram, San Miguel’s CJ Perez, and Meralco’s Chris Newsome round up the selection of locally based talent.

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