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Dwight Ramos to play for Gilas in FIBA World Cup Qualifiers

The Gilas Pilipinas men’s national basketball team will have ace wingman Dwight Ramos in their lineup for the 2023 FIBA World Cup Asian Qualifiers’ first window later this month at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

Newly-installed Gilas head coach Chot Reyes made the surprise announcement during his appearance on Spin Zoom In, saying Ramos will be in the country on Friday and will be joining the team’s practices as soon as possible.

Amidst all the hullaballoo surrounding the stepping down of former Gilas head coach Tab Baldwin and the uncertainty surrounding the program, Ramos’ presence is expected to give the team a semblance of stability. After all, he was the team’s main man during the Philippines’ undefeated romp through the 2021 FIBA Asia Cup Qualifiers where he averaged 13.8 points, 6.2 rebounds, and 2.2 assists per game.

His superb stint with the Gilas garnered him attention from foreign teams and he eventually signed with Toyama of the B.League where he is norming 9.8 points, 3.8 rebounds, and 1.9 assists per match.

Ramos will be joining Gilas pool members Juan Gomez de Liano, William Navarro, Tzaddy Rangel, Jaydee Tungcab, and naturalized player Ange Kouame, who Reyes said is already with the team in the bubble.

Reyes also said that he and the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas is still in talks with the management team of the University of the Philippines and De La Salle University for the possibility of having Carl Tamayo and Justine Baltazar.

“We are talking to their teams. Those guys are very high on my list,” Reyes said.

Both big men were revelations during the FIBA Asia Cup Qualifiers and the Olympic Qualifying Tournament in Serbia. Thrust into being a small forward after playing the power forward or even center for most of his career, Baltazar showcased his versatility, averaging 12.6 points, 7.8 rebounds, 1.8 assists, and 1.2 steals in five games. Tamayo, on the other hand, showed that he wasn’t afraid to bang with opposing big men as he tallied averages of 9.0 and 2.5 rebounds in two matches.

Gilas will be taking on South Korea twice, India and then, New Zealand in the tournament that tips off on February 24.

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