Thu. Jul 25th, 2024
Gilas Pilipinas Final 12 Fiba World Cup

Gilas Pilipinas final roster for the Fiba World Cup, with the exception of Chris Newsome who was the last player to get cut. –FIBA PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines — Gilas Pilipinas coach Chot Reyes admitted the hardest part of his job was choosing the Final 12 players, leaving Chris Newsome, Ray Parks Jr., Thirdy Ravena, and Calvin Oftana out of the roster for Fiba World Cup 2023.

“[It was] very, very difficult. I’d like to call it the deepest cut. Really difficult some guys we had to cut were there from day one,” Reyes said in the introductory press conference on Thursday at Smart Araneta Coliseum. 

Reyes said he told the four players personally about not making it to the final cut of the Gilas Pilipinas ahead of the World Cup opener against the Karl-Anthony Towns-led Dominican Republic on Friday at Philippine Arena in Bocaue, Bulacan.

“I talked to Thirdy personally. I made a call myself to Ray Parks, to Calvin, and to Chris. I called them all at the same time. There was really no final cut,” the Gilas coach shared.

“I was very subdued after practice because I told them the coaching staff is about to make a very tough decision but it falls on me to deliver the news. And the way I like to do it was to call the players themselves. That’s my commitment to the players, they’re not gonna find out about it on social media or from any other person but from me, personally,” he added.

The players who made the Final 12 are NBA player Jordan Clarkson, bigs Kai Sotto, AJ Edu, Japeth Aguilar and June Mar Fajardo, Dwight Ramos, Scottie Thompson, Jamie Malonzo and Rhenz Abando.


Chris Newsome is one of the players who got cut from the Gilas Pilipinas final roster.

Chris Newsome is one of the players who got cut from the Gilas Pilipinas final roster. –FIBA

Chris Newsome still attended the Gilas practice on Tuesday at Philsports Arena and on Wednesday at the Big Dome. Reyes said Ravena and Parks as well as Oftana would still be with them, if not for their respective commitments after getting cut.

“The reason why Chris is with us is because Thirdy and Ray have to report back already to their teams in Japan and Calvin had to go back to Dumaguete with his family with his baby so they would have been with us if not,” he said.

Reyes lauded the efforts of the four players, stressing that they also deserved to see action in the World Cup, the coaches just had to make the choice.

“That’s how difficult it was. Like I told them, it’s not because of anything they did wrong or any lack or deficiency on their part. It’s just that we had to make a choice. In the end,  we had 16 guys and we could only choose 12. That’s really a coach’s most difficult job,” he said. “It would be easier if they were doing something bad or wrong or they were just really bad for the team. But not, they were all doing everything that we asked. We just had to make a decision.”

Pool members Carl Tamayo, Jordan Heading, and Poy Erram already begged off due to their respective injuries, while naturalized players Justin Brownlee and Ange Kouame have accepted that Jordan Clarkson will represent the nationals after their commitment and huge contributions to the program.

Gilas will be parading NBA star Clarkson, veteran big men June Mar Fajardo and Japeth Aguilar, Dwight Ramos, Jamie Malonzo, Scottie Thompson, Kai Sotto, AJ Edu, Kiefer Ravena, Rhenz Abando, CJ Perez, and Roger Pogoy as they host Group A, which includes Italy and Angola, in their bid to reach the second round and emerge as the best Asian team to qualify for the 2024 Paris Olympics.

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By Sandra Winters

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