Young wingman Lebron Lopez was the final cut for the Gilas Pilipinas roster that will head over to Belgrade, Serbia to compete in the Olympic Qualifying Tournament.
This means the 12-man roster of head coach Tab Baldwin is composed of naturalized player Angelo Kouame, Dwight Ramos, Kai Sotto, Isaac Go, Jordan Heading, Geo Chu, Mike Nieto, SJ Belangel, William Navarro, Justine Baltazar, RJ Abarrientos, and Cebuano forward Carl Tamayo. The Gilas leaves for Serbia on Thursday night and will be taking on mighty Serbia on July 1 before battling the Dominican Republic the very next day.
Despite the cut, Baldwin emphasized that the Ateneo high school standout is still part of the Gilas pool.
"Lebron's growth and development has been outstanding to this point and there is every expectation that it will continue as he will certainly remain a part of the Gilas pool," said Baldwin.
The Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) Special Assistant to the SBP president Ryan Gregorio said the strict FIBA protocols prevented them from bringing Lopez to Belgrade.
"At this stage and with the strict FIBA protocols, it is very challenging to bring Lebron to Serbia for the experience of being a part of the travelling pool and learning more from his more experienced Gilas brothers," said Gregorio. (JNP)