MANILA, Philippines – The young Gilas Pilipinas lineup in the second window of the 2021 FIBA Asia Cup qualifiers have been tried and tested in the spotlight of the international scene.
Though lacking in experience and in ample preparation, the 15-man pool of collegiate and fresh-out-of-college stars didn't show any fear in going up against older and more experienced opponents and trampled Thailand twice in blowout affairs.
This dominant performance, at least in the eyes of head coach Jong Uichico, gave the youngsters a significant chance in contending for roster spots with professional ballers come future tournaments.
"All of them are in contention to have a spot in the third window… All of them have their equal chances," Uichico said, particularly of the roster in the third window of the Asia Cup qualifiers in February 2021.
The Gilas squad in Bahrain — led by UP's Gomez de Liano brothers, Kobe Paras, and Ateneo's Dwight Ramos and Dave Ildefonso — showed flashes of brilliance in their play against an all-professional, and more seasoned Thailand squad.
In their two outings, Gilas Pilipinas crushed the Thais by a combined 54-point differential, leaving little to no doubt about their capacity to represent the country on the big stage.
This time competing with the professionals in the PBA for a spot in the roster come February, with the PBA bubble already long wrapped up by then, the young Gilas cagers will need to step it up another notch.
"We will make that assessment come next year when we start again our training camp and we will make our decisions from there," Uichico said of the eventual lineup.
After the second window, the Philippines is currently at the top spot of Group A with a 3-0 slate.
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