Gilas draftees, young players enter Laguna bubble

Camille B. Naredo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Mar 15 2021 09:58 PM

Gilas draftees, young players enter Laguna bubble 1

MANILA, Philippines -- The four players selected in the special Gilas Pilipinas draft were among those who entered the Inspire Sports Academy in Calamba, Laguna on Monday for the national team's training camp. 

Jordan Heading, Tzaddy Rangel, William Navarro, and Jaydee Tungcab led the way for the national team pool as they started a month-long camp to prepare for the FIBA Asia Cup 2021 qualifiers and the FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament. 

All four became full-time national team players after being selected by the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas in a special round in Sunday's PBA Rookie Draft.

The FIBA Asia Cup tilt will be hosted by the Philippines in mid-June, while the OQT is set for Belgrade, Serbia from June 29 to July 4.

Aside from the four players, also entering the Inspire facility were Justine Baltazar, Dave Ildefonso, Dwight Ramos, Chris Koon, and Ange Kouame. All of them have taken part in previous training camps. 

Among the new faces who entered Inspire were Lebron Lopez of Ateneo de Manila High School, RJ Abarrientos of Far Eastern University, Carl Tamayo of the University of the Philippines, and Kyle Ong of Ateneo de Manila University.

Also taking part in the camp are members of the Ateneo men's basketball team Gian Mamuyac, SJ Belangel, Josh Lazaro, Troy Mallillin, Geo Chiu, and Jason Credo. 

"As it stands right now, the rosters will be selected without PBA players," said Tab Baldwin, the program director for Gilas Pilipinas. "So we obviously need to work with the players available."

Four players selected from the 2019 Gilas draft -- Isaac Go, Matt and Mike Nieto, and Rey Suerte -- are all expected to join the camp in Inspire. However, Allyn Bulanadi remains out of action due to a right shoulder injury. 

Among those who have begged off from national team duty this time around are Javi Gomez de Liano of University of the Philippines, Kemark Carino of San Beda University, and Kevin Quiambao and Raven Cortez of De La Salle University, all due to academic issues. 

"We respect that, there's no issue with that," said Baldwin. "With the age with the kids we are dealing with, we were expecting those conflicts to happen."

Aside from Baldwin, other coaches who joined the team at Inspire are: Jong Uichico, Caloy Garcia, Alton Lister, Boyet Fernandez, Sandy Arespachochaga, Gabby Severino, and Dex Aseron.

Training sessions will begin after the delegation clears the health and safety protocols of the Inspire facility.

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