Five players from the Phoenix Accelerators, the eventual champions in PBA D-League Foundation Cup, and two from the Tanduay Rhum Masters, the runners-up, headline the "Final 12" of "Gilas 5.0" heading to Tehran for the FIBA Asia Challenge next month as announced by the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) yesterday.
Mike Tolomia, Ed Daquioag, RR Pogoy, Mac Belo, and Russel Escoto made the cut among the Phoenix players, while Kevin Ferrer and Fonzo Gotladera are the Tanduay players in the final lineup alongside a former teammate, Von Pessumal, who opted to spend the Foundation Cup off.
Joining them are Cafe France-CEU's Carl Cruz, Racal's Chris Javier, Lyceum's CJ Perez, and former D-League player Arnold Van Opstal, who, like Pessumal, sat out the season-ending conference.
Josh Reyes will handle the Gilas squad going to the FIBA Asia Challenge, which serves as a qualifier for the FIBA Asia Cup next year.
Meanwhile, Gilas Pilipinas moved up a notch in the latest FIBA ranking after a gallant stand in the Olympic qualifier last month.
Finalized on Sunday and officially announced yesterday, Gilas is now ranked 27th in the world and third in Asia.
What makes the ranking more special for Gilas is that the team is now ranked higher than Germany, which suffered the biggest fall.
The Germans, who lost Dallas Mavericks star Dirk Nowitzki to international retirement, dipped nine spots to number 29, two places below Gilas.
On the other hand, Gilas is now relatively at par with Iran in the newest update, as the latter slipped eight places to 25th overall.
USA stays as the top basketball team in the world, while Spain, despite only finishing third in the Olympics, remains second.
Serbia, the eventual silver medalist, moved three notches up to third overall, while France, which made the Olympics by ruling the OQT hosted by Gilas, moved up as well to fourth.*PNA
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