Asking Raymond Almazan and Chris Newsome to play for the Filipino men’s basketball team during the last round of the FIBA World Cup Asian qualifiers is a BIG NO-NO.
Although the two Meralco players assiduously attended the Gilas training pool’s regular workouts, Newsome and Almazan were unable to be included in the final starting lineups for the games against Jordan and Lebanon because the Bolts’ PBA Governors Cup schedule conflicts with the qualifications.
The Philippines’ match against Lebanon on Friday at the Philippine Arena is wedged between the Bolts’ key contests against NLEX on Thursday and Magnolia on Sunday.
The game against Jordan is scheduled for Monday.
In order to allow Newsome and Almazan to focus on the Bolts’ matchup against the hot-shooting Hotshots, the Gilas coaching staff, led by coach Chot Reyes and team manager Butch Antonio, chose not to simply put the two in the team’s final 12-man lineup for this window.
On Wednesday, Newsome and Almazan participated in their final Gilas practice.
When questioned about the situation, Norman Black, the coach of Meralco, stated he was not entirely aware of the agreement between the national team and the two players.
Black is unaware of the current state of the two players’ involvement with the national squad. Following Meralco’s 114-98 victory over NLEX at the Philsports Arena, Black commented, he knows they are committed to play for them on Sunday.
In the victory over the Road Warriors, which ended the Bolts’ two-game losing streak and improved their record to 4-2, Newsome finished with 18 points and eight rebounds on 6-of-12 shooting from the field, while Almazan scored seven and four.
While 6-foot-9 Japeth Aguilar is presently recovering from an MCL strain, 6-foot-9 Kai Sotto and 6-foot-7 Carl Tamayo begged off for this window, leaving the national team with an even more gaping hole in the middle if Almazan where to go.
Even though the experienced guard is regarded as one of the greatest perimeter defenders for the national team, others in the training pool may be able to fill Newsome’s spot at the wings.
Gilas Man Pool 2023
Together with PBA stars June Mar Fajardo, Scottie Thompson, CJ Perez, Jamie Malonzo, and Calvin Oftana, as well as imports from the Japan B.League, Dwight Ramos, Bobby Ray Parks, Kiefer Ravena, and Thirdy Ravena, Brownlee now leads the lineup against the Cedars.
Headed, a B.League veteran who was included to head Coach Chot Reyes’ final roster for the 6 p.m. game, is slated to make a comeback. After moving abroad, he almost destroyed relations with the national team and lost the match.
As a result of Kai Sotto’s absence and Japeth Aguilar’s injury, Amos was also included in the final roster. During the Gilas team’s penultimate match in the qualifiers, the 6-7 youngster joins Fajardo and Brownlee as the only other big men on the tiny squad.
Following a naturalization procedure sparked by a clamor from Filipino fans, Brownlee, a longtime import of Barangay Ginebra, will at last don a Gilas uniform.
Tim Cone, the head coach of Ginebra, who was Reyes’s assistant with the Gilas along with colleagues Thompson and Malonzo, will join him on the national team.
Ramos is one game away from participating in all 12 Gilas World Cup qualifiers for 2023 after being selected for the Lebanon game, which the nation will co-host with Japan and Indonesia in August.