THE Gilas Pilipinas team seeing action in the first window of the FIBA Asia Cup qualifiers is now set after the final roster was named.

Following team practice on Wednesday night at the Meralco Gym, the Gilas coaching staff, led by interim coach Mark Dickel, announced the names of players who will be at their disposal as they play Indonesia in a Group A match on Feb. 23 in Jakarta.

Describing it as a mix of young veterans and up-and-comers, Gilas hopes the team gets the Philippines’ campaign to a good start and put it in a position to go deeper in the tournament.

Making up the FIBA Asia Cup team for the country are Philippine Basketball Association campaigners Kiefer Ravena (NLEX), captain; Troy Rosario and Roger Pogoy (TNT), Poy Erram (NLEX), Justin Chua (Phoenix), Abu Tratter (Alaska) and CJ Perez (Columbian).

They are joined by Gilas draftees Isaac Go (Columbian) and Matt Nieto (NLEX) and collegiate standouts Thirdy Ravena and Dwight Ramos (Ateneo) and Juan Gomez de Liano (University of the Philippines).

Reserve players are Javee Mocon of Rain or Shine, Gilas cadet Rey Suerte (Blackwater) and Jaydee Tungcab (UP).

First off for the team is a showdown with the Indonesians on Sunday at the latter’s home turf of Britama Arena, Sportmall Kelapa Gading in Jakarta.

“It was not an easy team to pick. We had numerous combinations that we could have gone with. And in a few positions we felt we got covered with some young players. They had an advantage looking to the future,” said Mr. Dickel as he described the selection process that they had.

“The PBA players that we got gave us a good base to work with while the young players can complement them. We are confident that this team gives us a good chance in our first game,” he added.

On the part of the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP), the country’s basketball federation, it said it supports the team seeing action against Indonesia while also wishing the nationals the best as they battle for flag and country.

“Our unit is one that features balance between youth and experience as we have seven PBA players [with international experience]. Joining them is a group of hungry young players who are raring to represent the country and introduce themselves to the international basketball scene,” said the SBP in a statement.

Apart from Indonesia, the Philippines will go up against Thailand and South Korea.

The team’s goal is to emerge in the top two of the grouping to advance outright to the FIBA Asia Cup happening next year. — Michael Angelo S. Murillo