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Gilas 12 vs Japan revealed

Only Carl Cruz, Raymond Almazan, and Mac Belo were cut from the remaining pool members. Dennis Acosta (file photo)

By Ivan Saldajeno

MANILA--The "Dirty Dozen" that will start Gilas Pilipinas' road to China is now known.

In a special team meeting held on Thursday in Tokyo that was broadcast on ESPN 5 documentary Kwentong Gilas' Facebook page, Coach Chot Reyes named the players who will don the national colors against Japan on Friday night at the start of Gilas' FIBA World Cup Qualifiers campaign.

Alaska's Calvin Abueva, NLEX's Kevin Alas and Kiefer Ravena, Ginebra's Japeth Aguilar, Xinjiang's Andray Blatche, TNT's Jayson Castro, RR Pogoy, and Troy Rosario, San Miguel's Junemar Fajardo, Blackwater's Allein Maliksi, Rain Or Shine's Gabe Norwood, and Phoenix's Matt Wright make up the squad that will face the Japanese squad.

Owing to injuries, Reyes opted to sit out Carl Cruz, Raymond Almazan, and Mac Belo, who actually joined the team in its trip to Tokyo.

However, the multi-titled mentor clarified, "Hindi ito ibig sabihin kahit sa Taiwan yun na rin yun. Pwede talagang mag-iba.... We're still 15-strong," hinting that the said players can be called up for Monday's match against Chinese Taipei at the Smart Araneta Coliseum in Quezon City especially that the new qualifying round format will be tiring for some players.

Follow him on Twitter: @IvanSaldajeno