Fajardo, Ravena to lead Gilas in SEA Games '19; Ross, Manuel set for nat'l team debut

June Mar Fajardo and Marcio Lassiter will lead Gilas Men's SEA Games team. Rick Dela Cruz (file photo)
By Drew Malihan

MANILA -- June Mar Fajardo will don the national colors once more as he will lead Gilas Pilipinas in the 2019 Southeast Asian Games' men's basketball tournament.

This will be Fajardo's first stint in the SEA Games after wearing the blue and white for the past six years.

The national team will also render the service of NLEX star guard Kiefer Ravena, who is aiming for his fifth straight gold medal.

Ravena has won all SEA Games gold medals in his four-time stint with Gilas back when he debuted with the team in 2011 in Indonesia.

Alongside them are Gilas veterans Japeth Aguilar, Stanley Pringle, and LA Tenorio from Ginebra, RR Pogoy and Troy Rosario from TNT, San Miguel's Marcio Lassiter, Phoenix's Matthew Wright, and Christian Standhardinger from Northport.

But all eyes are on the two Gilas debutantes in Alaska forward Vic Manuel and San Miguel's defensive guard Chris Ross.

Ross has been involved in previous call-ups for the national team but was deemed ineligible in FIBA-sanctioned tournaments, while this is Manuel's first-ever suit-up for national duty.

The inclusion of the two also meant the subtraction of Ginebra players Scottie Thompson, Greg Slaughter and Art dela Cruz from the 15-man training pool.

The Philippines will start its quest for its 14th straight gold medal finish at the SEA Games against Singapore on Dec. 4 at the Mall of Asia Arena.

Follow him on Twitter: @drewmalihan