Why Guiao included Barroca in the new Gilas pool

Magnolia veteran playmaker Mark Barroca didn't think he would ever get another shot at suiting up for Gilas Pilipinas given the current crop of talented point guards in the PBA.

Gilas coach Yeng Guiao named Barrocana to the 14-man pool that will start preparing for the sixth window of the 2019 FIBA World Cup Asian Qualifiers beginning January 21.

"I'm really thankful to coach because he included me in the pool," Barroca told ESPN5 on Tuesday.

It's been over seven years since Barroca last played for the national team, the original Gilas squad, where he served as the backup playmaker of JVee Casio under Serbian coach Rajko Toroman.

Shortly after being selected fifth overall by B-Meg (now Magnolia) in the 2011 PBA Rookie Draft, Barroca went on to play for Smart-Gilas, which lost to Jordan in the FIBA Asia men's championships semifinals and missed an Olympic spot for the 2012 Summer Games in London.

Barroca is joined by Magnolia teammate Paul Lee in the pool. Guiao said Barroca's effectiveness on both ends of the floor and his on-court chemistry with Lee are the reasons why he selected him.

"The two of them have chemistry and are coming off a championship (in the PBA)," Guiao told SportsCenter Philippines. "We need Barroca because he brings offense and defense. And he won Finals MVP. He has championship and international experience and was part of the original Gilas team. I believe he can adapt well to our system."

Barroca is well aware what faces Gilas in the fifth window. The Philippines needs to win its last two games against Qatar and Kazakhstan -- both on the road -- in February. But the six-time PBA champion believes it's just going to be a matter of playing well on the defensive end in order to keep the country's FIBA World Cup hopes alive.

"This is my last push since I'm not getting any younger," Barroca said.

The Philippine team has gone 1-3 under Guiao, including back-to-back home defeats to Kazakhstan and Qatar in the recent window.

Gilas' last two games in the sixth and final window will be against Qatar (February 21) and Kazakhstan (February 25).

ESPN5's JC Ansis and SportsCenter Philippines contributed to this report.