The line-up for the Chooks-to-Go Pilipinas team competing in the FIBA Asia Champions Cup was announced last Tuesday in a send-off event for the team.
The team is a mix of PBA and D-League players as well as Gilas cadets. Leading the charge are Kiefer Ravena, Carl Bryan Cruz and Almond Vostoros All three are fresh from their gold medal run in the SEA Games. Joining the them are PBA players Norbert Torres and Alfrancis Tamsi of TNT as well as LA Revilla of Kia. Rounding out the team are Raymar Jose, Jett Manuel and the Teng brothers, Jeron and Jeric.
Also part of the roster to reinforce the team are Rob Ebondo of Centro Escolar University and Isaiah Austin. Ebondo was brought in to replace Bright Akhuetie who was initially named as part of the roster. Austin will be donning the national colors for the first time. This serves as his test run as he is a player who’s up for naturalization for the National Team. The two are still waiting for their visas so that they can officially join Chooks-to-Go Pilipinas. Should they be unable to get their visas, Gab Banal and Andre Paras will serve as their replacements.
The FIBA Asia Champions Cup is a club tournament, not a national team tournament. This tournament wasn’t originally part of the Philippine National Team calendar. When a slot in the tournament freed up, FIBA requested the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) if they could form a team. Chooks-to-Go backed the team that was formed by the SBP.
There will be 10 different clubs from all over Asia competing in the tournament, including the Xinjian Flying Tigers who won the 2016 FIBA Asia Champions Cup. Naturalized Filipino player Andre Blatche will be joining the Flying Tigers and will play against the Philippine club team.
Chooks-to-Go Pilipinas will be part of Group A and will open their campaign against BC Astana on September 22.
Photos from Jutt Sulit