TNT players spearhead Gilas roster for FIBA Asia

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Feb 07 2013 01:36 PM | Updated as of Feb 08 2013 02:23 AM

MANILA, Philippines – (UPDATE) Seven players from PBA Philippine Cup champions Talk 'N Text will lead the Gilas Pilipinas team at the FIBA Asia Championship in August.

National team head coach Chot Reyes announced on Twitter his line-up for the biennial tournament, which will be held in Manila.

Talk 'N Text stalwarts Jimmy Alapag, Jayson Castro, Ryan Reyes, Larry Fonacier, Jared Dillinger, Ranidel de Ocampo and Kelly Williams are all included in the national team.

Joining them are Jones Cup Most Valuable Player LA Tenorio of Ginebra; Gary David and Japeth Aguilar of GlobalPort; Gabe Norwood and Jeff Chan of Rain or Shine; Marc Pingris of San Mig Coffee; Sonny Thoss of Alaska; and rookie JunMar Fajardo of Petron.

Also included in the 17-man line-up are naturalized player Marcus Douthit and cadet player Greg Slaughter.

Tenorio, David, Chan, Norwood, Thoss, de Ocampo, Fonacier, Dillinger and Douthit were all part of the squad that won the Jones Cup in August 2012.

Reyes, the former coach of Talk 'N Text, had emphasized speed and versatility when it came to choosing the national team roster.

"Magbubuo tayo ng team. Hindi tayo magbubuo ng collection of superstars,”" Reyes said. "We'll never have a size advantage, so we’ll have a team that has speed and outside shooting."

"It must be versatile. It must be a team with role players," he added.

After posting his Gilas Pilipinas line-up, Reyes also tweeted his gratitude to the players who suited up for the Philippines in previous tournaments but did not make the final roster, including KG Canaleta, Sol Mercado and Enrico Villanueva.

In response to Reyes' tweet, Mercado said: "It was an honor coach. I wouldn't trade that opportunity for anything. Thank you for giving me that chance."

Canaleta also thanked Reyes for the “great opportunity and experience” and wished the team luck in the tournament.

Earlier, the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) agreed to postpone the season-ending Governors Cup to give way to the national team’s preparations for the FIBA Asia Championship.

"(The PBA team owners) readily okayed moving the third conference until after the FIBA Asia tournament," PBA Commissioner Chito Salud announced in a statement Tuesday.

The move provided Gilas Pilipinas with two months to prepare for the FIBA Asia Championship. 

The Philippines is hosting the FIBA Asia Championship for the first time in 40 years. They will be allowed to choose its group during the draw on June 6.

The Philippines last won the FIBA Asia title in 1973. At stake in this year's tournament are three slots to the 2014 FIBA World Cup in Spain.