tab baldwin - Collegiate stars to represent PH in Fiba Asia Cup qualifiers – Tab Baldwin
Gilas Pilipinas program director Tab Baldwin. (Fiba Images)

Collegiate players will likely fill up the void left by their professional counterparts if Gilas Pilipinas gets to compete in the planned second window of the 2021 FIBA Asia Cup Qualifiers next month.

There’s still no word on where the planned bubble will take place for the November window of the qualifiers which is one of many concerns Gilas is facing as of the moment.

With PBA players currently inside the bubble in Clark for the restart of the 45th season, Gilas program director Tab Baldwin said he already has his eyes on some of the players from the UAAP and NCAA ranks.

“We don’t expect the PBA bubble to be able to be broken in any way, so at this point we’re ruling out the inclusion of PBA players and coaches,” Baldwin said in Tuesday’s episode of Sports Page.

“That means, you have to either look at players overseas which is very difficult because there’s more likely that they have schedules going on right now, or look at our collegiate ranks which is more likely,” he added.

Gilas only has Isaac Go, Allyn Bulanadi, brothers Mike and Matt Nieto, Rey Suerte and Jaydee Tungcab as part of the Cadets pool while Thirdy Ravena is set to leave for Japan Thursday to begin his stint with San-En Neophoenix of Japan’s B.League.

Ryan Gregorio, the special assistant to Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas president Al Panlilio, said that there’s a likelihood of putting Jong Uichico back in the coaching ranks due to the current situation.

Uichico has been busy with the SBP’s coaches academy and Gregorio said the multi-time PBA champion coach seems to be the best one available with Mark Dickel and Topex Robinson currently inside the PBA bubble.

Dickel called the shots for Gilas during its win over Indonesia last February with Robinson serving as one of his assistants.

“If there’s one name we agreed on with coach Tab, it’s coach Jong,” said Gregorio.

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