Gilas veteran Jayson Castro headlines 21-man pool for FIBA qualifiers

Published February 15, 2022, 9:49 PM

by Jonas Terrado

Photo from PBA

Jayson Castro could make his return to international duty while injured RR Pogoy apparently won’t be part of the Gilas Pilipinas pool for this month’s FIBA World Cup Asian Qualifiers at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

The FIBA website listed Castro as one of many players from TNT Tropang Giga who were named to the 21-man pool of coach Chot Reyes for the games against South Korea, India and New Zealand from Feb. 24 to 28.

Other Tropang Giga cagers on the list are Poy Erram, Troy Rosario, Kelly Williams, Ryan Reyes, Gab Banal, Kib Montalbo, Carl Bryan Cruz, Brian Heruela, Matt Ganuelas-Rosser, Glenn Khobuntin and J-Jay Alejandro.

They are joined by NorthPort’s Robert Bolick, the only PBA player outside of TNT, Japan B.League cagers Thirdy Ravena and Dwight Ramos, naturalized player Ange Kouame, Juan Gomez de Liano, LeBron Lopez, Jaydee Tungcab, Will Navarro and Tzaddy Rangel.

Players named to the pool are eligible for selection to the 12-man roster which can be replaced each game during the window.

Castro has not donned the Gilas jersey since Feb. 2019 when he helped secure Gilas’ entry to that year’s World Cup with victories over Qatar and Kazakhstan in the final window of the Asian Qualifiers.

Pogoy, meanwhile, is nursing an injured calf which he sustained during last week’s joint practice of Gilas and TNT.

The injury has forced the reliable two-way player to miss the Tropang Giga’s losses to the Magnolia Pambansang Manok and Phoenix Super LPG Fuel Masters in the PBA Governors’ Cup.

Reyes previously hinted that Pogoy was among the TNT players who are shoo-ins for the window, along with Rosario and Erram.

Meanwhile, TNT star Mikey Williams won’t take part in the qualifiers since he can only play as a naturalized cager under FIBA’s eligibility.

The spot is almost sure to be given to Kouame, whose presence in the middle will play an important role for Gilas.