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Fiba: Sotto, Kouame in for 5th window

Kai Sotto, the 7-foot-3 center, and Ange Kouame, the team’s naturalized player, were included in the 20-man pool of the Gilas Pilipinas team that will play in the fifth window of the FIBA World Cup Asian Qualifiers on 10 and 13 November.

The Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas released the roster on Friday night.

Sotto, who is currently playing for the Adelaide 36ers in the National Basketball League, is currently in talks with the SBP officials on the possibility of playing in the next window where the Philippines play away games against Jordan and Saudi Arabia.

Gilas will take on the Jordanians on November 10 and then face the Saudis on November 13.

Kouame, the 6-foot-10 center, who reinforced Gilas as early as last year, is seeing action for the Ateneo Blue Eagles in the ongoing men’s basketball tournament of the Universities Athletic Association of the Philippines.

The inclusion of Sotto and Kouame in the pool will help shore up the front court of the Philippine quintet, which will miss the services of six-time Philippine Basketball Association Most Valuable Player June Mar Fajardo of San Miguel Beer.

Fajardo is still recovering after undergoing surgery on his throat and will still be out for the next four weeks.

Joining Sotto and Kouame in the 20-man pool are reigning MVP Scottie Thompson, Japeth Aguilar and Jamie Malonzo of Barangay Ginebra, Calvin Oftana, Roger Pogoy and Poy Erram of TNT, CJ Perez of San Miguel Beer, Arvin Tolentino and William Navarro of NorthPort, and Chris Newsome of Meralco.

Players outside of the PBA who were included in the list were the four players from the Japan B. League – Dwight Ramos, Kiefer and Thirdy Ravena and Ray Parks. These players are expected to arrive next week, according to Gilas team manager Butch Antonio.

From the collegiate ranks, GIlas also tapped the services of Carl Tamayo from University of the Philippines, Kevin Quiambao of La Salle and Francis Lopez of Ateneo.

Antonio added that the initial pool will be submitted on or before October 31. The final 12 will be determined on the eve of the team’s game against Jordan.

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