Two of the country's best young talents will be on one squad as Kai Sotto teams up with AJ Edu for the 2018 FIBA U18 Asian Championship in Nonthaburi, Thailand.
The final lineup for the tournament to be held from August 5 to 11 was announced on Saturday after the team beat the FEU Tamaraws, 82-73, in a tuneup game in West Greenhills.
Joining Edu and Sotto are Carl Tamayo, Gerry Abadiano, Joshua Ramirez of the NU Bullpups, Raven Cortez of La Salle Zobel, Geo Chiu of Ateneo, Dave Ildefonso, Miguel Oczon from the NU Bulldogs, Rhayyan Amsali of San Beda, Xyrus Torres of FEU, Bismarck Lina of UST, and Dalph Panopio from Italy.
Six players - Sotto, Tamayo, Abadiano, Lina, Cortez, and Chiu - saw action for the under-17 World Cup team that competed in Argentina earlier this month.
The 13-man crew will be coached by Josh Reyes with assistants Goldwyn Monteverde, Mike Oliver, John Arenas, and Gilbert Lao.
Batang Gilas will face China, Lebanon, and United Arab Emirates in Group B. All their games will be shown on ESPN5.com.
The FIBA U18 Asian Championship is a qualifier for the U19 World Championship next year.
Based on the lineup, height will obviously be a huge advantage. The frontcourt will boast a 7-foot-1 Sotto and 6-foot-10 Edu, and not to mention the solid presence of Cortez and Gilas Cadet Tamayo. But aside from the towering big men, there is also length in the guard position with 6-foot-1 Panopio.
But the ace in the hole will probably the team's versatility on both ends. Swingmen like Ildefonso and Amsali can provide additional ball handling on offense while being lengthy defenders on the other end. Plus, the addition of Oczon will be a boost the team's firepower from the outside.
This Batang Gilas incarnation will be team that can be efficient on both ends given the depth and potential.