'Usual suspects' make up shoo-ins for Gilas' Asian Games team

June Mar Fajardo has been called up to Gilas' Asian Games team. Kennelf Monteza (file photo)
By Ivan Saldajeno

QUEZON CITY--New Gilas Pilipinas head coach Tim Cone did not name his lineup for the Asian Games contrary to the popular presumption ahead of his press conference on Thursday at the PBA office.

However, he revealed three players, who he called the "usual suspects", who made the partial list.

"The usual suspects are going to be there: June Mar [Fajardo], Scottie [Thompson], and Japeth [Aguilar]," Cone said on Thursday when he was introduced as Gilas' interim coach for the Asian Games at the PBA office.

Fajardo, Thompson, and Aguilar are listed in the initial lineup Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas transmitted to the Philippine Olympic Committee for Gilas' entry by names to the Asian Games.

Cone then revealed that Justin Brownlee will likely make it in time for the Sept. 23 start of the Asian Games.

"I talked to him. He's recovering still from surgery, but he's back on the court. He wants to play, and he will play in the Asian Games," Cone further said.

The focus now, according to Cone, is to fill the hole that would be left as Dwight Ramos, Kiefer Ravena, AJ Edu, and Kai Sotto return to their respective Japan B.League clubs next season.

"We're trying to fill up the gaps where Kai was, AJ Edu was, Ramos was, or Kiefer was before," Cone further said.

However, he ruled out two players, namely Jamie Malonzo and Brandon Rosser, mainly due to their respective injuries.

With barely two weeks to prepare for the Asian Games, the SBP is keen on bringing in a "Final 12" already instead of forming a pool.

SBP Vice President Ricky Vargas said that an ultimatum has been issued to those who have been invited to the training camp.

"If you don't want to play and you're invited because you don't come in time, you're out," said Vargas, also the chairman of the PBA board of governors.

Cone bared that Gilas will convene anew on Monday at the PhilSports Arena in Pasig.

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