"Gilas 13" named; special draft on

By Dugout Philippines

QUEZON CITY--The SBP announced the names of the players who will be part of the Gilas pool for the FIBA World Cup Qualifiers.

In a press conference during halftime of Game 6 of the PBA Governors' Cup Finals between Meralco and Ginebra at the Smart Araneta Coliseum on Wednesday night, SBP president Al Panlilio, who also serves as governor for Meralco, named Mac Belo, Carl Cruz, Ed Daquioag, Russel Escoto, Kevin Ferrer, Jio Jalalon, Von Pessumal, RR Pogoy, Mike Tolomia, Arnold Van Opstal, Matt Wright, Almond Vosotros, and Fonzo Gotladera to the national team pool.

Panlilio was supposed to name only 12, but with Vosotros, a second round pick by Blackwater last year, already playing in the league, Gotladera was inserted at the last minute.

Among the 13, only Gotladera was absent in the players' meeting with the SBP on Tuesday, in which the organization officially named Chot Reyes as the new Gilas coach.

Belo, Cruz, Daquioag, Escoto, Ferrer, Jalalon, Pessumal, Pogoy, Tolomia, Van Opstal, Wright, and Gotladera will be part of a special draft which will take place before the regular PBA Draft. Both drafts will take place on Oct. 30 at the Robinson's Place Manila Atrium. The announcement was made right at the deadline for draft application.

The said decision is part of a renewed partnership between the PBA and the SBP.

Both parties also agreed that while the teams that will select them will have rights over them, the players will only be devoted to Gilas training for the next two years and can only join their respective clubs by 2018.

"This is a landmark agreement between the SBP and the PBA. It's a very collaborative agreement. The PBA has shown commitment to the SBP of really supporting the Gilas program," said Panlilio

"This is an initial breakthrough between the SBP and the PBA," added Commissioner Chito Narvasa.

The said development effectively means Jalalon, who as of last week has yet to decide on whether he will turn pro or stay with Arellano, forewent his final year of eligibility in the NCAA.

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