By Ivan Stewart Saldajeno

Gilas Pilipinas men’s team (Photo from Gilas Facebook page)

MANILA – Thirteen players were present in Gilas Pilipinas’ latest practice ahead of the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2023 at the PhilSports Arena in Pasig City on Tuesday night.

In the training session that was reopened to the media after a string of closed-door practices and tune-up games, Jordan Clarkson, Kai Sotto, Dwight Ramos, Scottie Thompson, June Mar Fajardo, Jamie Malonzo, team captain Japeth Aguilar, Rhenz Abando, RR Pogoy, AJ Edu, CJ Perez, Kiefer Ravena and Chris Newsome were in attendance.

Ray-Ray Parks and Thirdy Ravena, who were not present in all three recent Gilas tune-up games against Ivory Coast, Montenegro and Mexico, were still absent in the open practice, as well as a pictorial earlier in the day during the FIBA World Cup Content Day at the Rizal Memorial Coliseum.

Calvin Oftana, who played against Montenegro on Sunday night, was not in attendance during Tuesday’s practice.

With the absences in consideration, the 13 players present on Tuesday could be the only ones left in contention for the 12-man final lineup for the FIBA World Cup.

Coach Chot Reyes, however, remained adamant that the announcement of the Final 12 would take place during the technical meeting on Wednesday.

However, he basically named Aguilar as a shoo-in to the Final 12.

With the fact that the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas has already named Clarkson as Gilas’ designated naturalized player, only 10 names are expected to be disclosed next. (PNA)