MANILA, Philippines – (UPDATED) Kiefer Ravena and Jeron Teng will lead the way for the Chooks-to-Go Pilipinas team that will compete in the 2017 FIBA Asia Champions Cup in Chenzhou, China from September 22 to 30.
The squad will be bolstered by former Baylor University center Isaiah Austin, a candidate for naturalization for the Gilas Pilipinas program; and Centro Escolar University big man Rod Ebondo.
The full line-up is as follows:
· Kiefer Ravena
· Jeron Teng
· Almond Vosotros
· Carl Bryan Cruz
· LA Revilla
· Norbert Torres
· Raymar Jose
· Jett Manuel
· Jeric Teng
· Alfrancis Tamsi
· Rod Ebondo
· Isaiah Austin
National team coach Chot Reyes will call the shots for the squad.
Simply completing the roster proved to be a difficult challenge for Reyes, as several of the players that he sought were unavailable. Ray Parks and Christian Standhardinger, for instance, are still nursing injuries, while Terrence Romeo and Calvin Abueva were not released by their mother teams even though they briefly practiced with the team.
Ebondo, meanwhile, was not an original choice as import, but stepped up to the plate once it became clear that Bright Akhuetie was having trouble securing clearance from the UAAP.
"I was nervous that there was not enough time to assemble and prepare a competitive team," admitted Bounty Agro Ventures president Ronald Mascariñas, who is the main backer of the team through Chooks-to-Go.
"Itong tournament na ito tested once again the difficulty of assembling a competitive team in this kind of tournament," he added.
"I admire the tenacity of Coach Chot and the players. Even with the limited resources, they're out there to fight and give their best for our country."
Even upon the announcement of the roster, the team is still facing adversity since both Ebondo and Austin do not yet have visas.
Reyes noted, however, that all these challenges – including their brief preparation time – are nothing new. "We're used to this," he pointed out.
"I think we have a pretty interesting team, but obviously, a lot is riding on the acquisition of a visa for Isaiah and Rod," he added.
The team is scheduled to fly to China on Wednesday afternoon.
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