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Gilas begins tough final grind to WCQ with 18 present in Monday practice

Nigerian national team member Daniel Ochefu was a guest player in Gilas practice. FIBA (file photo)
By Ivan Saldajeno

PASIG—Gilas Pilipinas' last once-a-day practice session ahead of the FIBA World Cup Qualifiers sixth window was well attended with only one player who is still under consideration for the final lineups not around.

A grand total of 18 players out of the initial 24-man pool were present during the Monday night training at the Meralco Gym here.

Seventeen of them, Raymond Almazan, Jordan Heading, Dwight Ramos, Kiefer and Thirdy Ravena, Mason Amos, Jerom Lastimosa, Kevin Quiambao, Schonny Winston, Jamie Malonzo, Chris Newsome, Justin Brownlee, CJ Perez, Ray-Ray Parks, Arvin Tolentino, Calvin Oftana, and Scottie Thompson, took part in the practice session that lasted for one hour.

Japeth Aguilar, despite already ruled out for the sixth window due to an ankle injury, still attended the Gilas practice as an observer.

Both Thompson and Aguilar along with Gilas assistant coach Tim Cone rushed to the Meralco Gym after taking part in the PBA All-Star Draft at the TV5 Studio in Mandaluyong, where Thompson and Aguilar, as team captains, formed their All-Star squads and Cone was chosen as Team Japeth's head coach.

Only June Mar Fajardo was not around on Monday night, but to add some ceiling in practice, especially that Gilas will be hosting relatively taller Lebanon and Jordan in the sixth window, Gilas head coach Chot Reyes invited TNT import Daniel Ochefu to join.

Ochefu, a former Nigerian national team member, was tapped to reinforce the Tropang Giga for the EASL Champions Week in Japan this March.

Starting Tuesday, Gilas will hold practices twice-a-day, one in the morning and another in the evening.

Follow him on Twitter: @IvanSaldajeno

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