The Philippine national men’s basketball team landed in Tokyo on Tuesday three days before kicking off its 2019 FIBA World Cup qualifying campaign.
Gilas Pilipinas will be taking on host Japan on Friday at the Komazawa Olympic Park General Sports Ground Gymnasium to begin its quest in the six-window qualifiers.
Spearheading the Gilas Pilipinas delegation which left Manila via Philippine Airlines on Tuesday morning are coach Chot Reyes and team manager Butch Antonio.
Leading the 16-man pool are naturalized player Andray Blatche, who is making a return to the team after skipping the FIBA Asia Cup in Lebanon last August; four-time PBA MVP June Mar Fajardo and former FIBA Asia Mythical Five member Jayson Castro.
Also part of the roster are Japeth Aguilar, Raymond Almazan, Kiefer Ravena, Kevin Alas, Calvin Abueva, Carl Bryan Cruz, Matthew Wright, Gabe Norwood, Troy Rosario, Terrence Romeo, Mac Belo, RR Pogoy and Allein Maliksi.
Romeo, the team’s leading scorer in the FIBA Asia Cup, is doubtful against Japan due to a knee injury.
After playing the Japanese, Gilas Pilipinas will immediately fly back to Manila where they will host Chinese Taipei on Monday at the SMART-Araneta Coliseum.