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Gilas reinforcements arriving

Japan B. League stars Dwight Ramos, Kiefer and Thirdy Ravena and Ray Parks will arrive on 1 and 2 November to rejoin Gilas Pilipinas ahead of the fifth window of the FIBA World Cup Asian Qualifiers.

The four players are currently on a break, a luxury being given by the B. League to all the players representing their respective national teams competing in FIBA-sanctioned events.

Ramos, the Ravena brothers and Parks were included in the 20-man pool for the next window of the Asian Qualifiers where the Philippines plays away games. Gilas will take on their Jordanian rivals on 10 November and will go up against the Saudis on 13 November.

Another overseas player added to the pool is Kai Sotto, who is playing for the Adelaide 36ers in the National Basketball League Australia.

The Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas is currently in talks with Sotto’s camp about having the 7-foot-3 cager in time for the fifth window.

Reigning PBA Most Valuable Player 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 were the PBA stars included in the 20-man pool.

Also tapped were collegiate stars Carl Tamayo of University of the Philippines, Kevin Quiambao of La Salle and Francis Lopez and Ange Kouame of Ateneo.

Gilas Pilipinas team manager Butch Antonio told Daily Tribune that the initial list will be sent on or before 31 October.

The final 12 will be known on the eve of its scheduled game against Jordan.

Injuries to key players are a big concern for Gilas Pilipinas as six-time PBA MVP June Mar Fajardo is still recovering after undergoing surgery on his throat while Newsome has just rejoined the team’s training after nearly a month of being idle owing to a contusion on his calf.

Sotto’s possible inclusion and also that of naturalized player Kouame and B. League stars for the fifth window are tops on Gilas’ agenda as the team is booked to leave on 7 November.

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