Justin Brownlee, Scottie Thompson headline Gilas pool for February window

As expected, the tried and tested championship tandem of Justin Brownlee and Scottie Thompson will spearhead the 24-man Gilas Pilipinas pool for the sixth and final window of the FIBA World Cup Asian Qualifiers in February.

Jordan Heading and June Mar Fajardo returns to Gilas pool while naturalized player Justin Brownlee reinforces national team mainstays Scottie Thompson and Kai Sotto (PBA / FIba photos)

The resident Ginebra import and now a newly-minted Filipino citizen joined Ange Kouame as the naturalized players in the pool while Thompson led the contingent coming from the three PBA teams in Barangay Ginebra, San Miguel and TNT.

The Kings duo was joined by teammates Jamie Malonzo and Japeth Aguilar along with RR Pogoy and Calvin Oftana from the Tropang Giga. CJ Perez is also in the pool along with fellow Beermen star June Mar Fajardo who is poised to make his Gilas return since last seeing action for the nationals back in May 2022 during the 31st Southeast Asian Games.

Meralco’s Chris Newsome and Raymond Almazan and NorthPort’s Arvin Tolentino were the other PBA players called up for the sixth window.

Completing the towering frontline, meanwhile, is Adelaide 36ers center Kai Sotto who finally will get a chance to play alongside Fajardo and Kouame – something the head coach Chot Reyes has been wanting to see since last window if not for the injuries of the latter two.

The Japan-based players were also part of the pool led by the returning gunner Jordan Heading who last suited up for Gilas during the FIBA Asia Cup Qualifiers. He is joined by Gilas mainstays Kiefer and Thirdy Ravena, Ray Parks Jr. and Dwight Ramos along with former UP forward and now Ryukyu Golden Kings import Carl Tamayo.

Still included in the pool are young guns Francis Lopez and Kevin Quiambao along with new Gilas callups in La Salle’s Deschon Winston and Adamson’s Jerom Lastimosa. After a solid outing for the Gilas boys squad, Mason Amos also got the call to join the senior’s team pool.

Gilas is set to return to its regular once-a-week practices on Monday as it gears up for its games against Lebanon and Jordan on Feb. 25 and 28, respectively, at the Philippine Arena.

The PBA also continued to lend its hand to Gilas by already adjusting its schedule for the season-ending conference with the three PBA teams not seeing action from Feb. 20 to Mar. 1 to allow the players to focus on their national team duties.