The SMART-Gilas Pilipinas national team will barely have any time to rest after its grueling title run in the 34th William Jones Cup.
The squad is slated to join the FIBA Asia Cup, the tournament that used to be known as the Stankovic Cup, slated on September 14 to 22 in Tokyo, Japan.
The tournament serves as a qualifier for next year’s FIBA Asia Championship, where three spots to the 2014 FIBA World Cup is up for grabs.
But beyond winning, it will serve as another opportunity to test the progress of the squad, which is eyeing to book a seat in world basketball tournament for the first time since 1978. The Philippines has been drawn into Group A of the tournament, alongside Asian powerhouse teams China and Lebanon and minnows Macau and Uzbekistan. The other group features Chinese Taipei, India, Iran, Japan, and Qatar.
The FIBA Asia Cup could also see a tweaked roster for SMART-Gilas. The squad’s Jones Cup lineup featured Ranidel De Ocampo, Larry Fonacier, Sonny Thoss, LA Tenorio, Mac Baracael, Jeff Chan, Gabe Norwood, Enrico Villanueva, Gary David, Jay-R Reyes, and Sol Mercado alongside naturalized center Marcus Douthit, former San Beda sharpshooter Garvo Lanete, and Filipino-American point guard Matthew Rosser.
Jayson Castro, Ryan Reyes, Jimmy Alapag, Jared Dillinger, Kelly Williams, and JVee Casio are also part of the pool. SMART-Gilas coach Chot Reyes could also choose to bring in new recruits to the squad.
A SMART-Gilas select team led by Tenorio, Thoss, and Baracael swept the Southeast Basketball Association Cup last July to gain entry into the Japan tournament.
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