Clarkson, Standhardinger included in Gilas pool for World Cup

Gilas Pilipinas coach Yeng Guiao included NBA player Jordan Clarkson in the national team pool that he submitted to the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas.

Headlining the pool comprising of 19 players is Andray Blatche, who joined his first Gilas practice Monday night.

Japeth Aguilar, Raymond Almazan, Mark Barroca, Beau Belga, Robert Bolick, Poy Erram, June Mar Fajardo, Marcio Lassiter, Paul Lee, Gabe Norwood, CJ Perez, Roger Pogoy, Stanley Pringle, Kiefer Ravena, Troy Rosario, Christian Standhardinger and Matthew Wright also made the list.

"It's a pool from where we will pick the final 12 once we get closer to the FIBA World Cup," said Guiao.

Clarkson, who currently plays for the Cleveland Cavaliers, was included despite his pending eligibility to play as a local player for the Philippine team. Standhardinger, meanwhile, has suited up for Gilas in past tournaments as a naturalized player.

"We're still hoping that a miracle happens, but at the same time, it's also a backup plan," said Guiao on Clarkson's status. "Knock on wood, I hope nothing happens, no harm comes to Andray, but at least we have options on the naturalized players if anything untoward happens. But we're hoping and praying that we all stay healthy."

Guiao is pleased that Blatche came on board early, with still seven weeks left before the FIBA World Cup kicks off on August 31.

"We have a longer time to prepare, so we're looking forward for him to get even better and sharper and quicker," said Guiao.

As the PBA heads into the playoffs this weekend, Guiao appeals to the players to continue attending the twice-a-week Gilas practices.

"We're asking the rest of the guys to make an effort," said Guiao. "I know they're in the important stages of the playoffs, but that's part of the sacrifice. What's important is we need to have at least 10 to 12 players every practice so we can go up and down and practice offense and defense."

To maximize his time in Manila, Blatche will be training with the NLEX Road Warriors on days when there are no Gilas practices, similar to what he did prior to the final window of the qualifiers.

"We'll go gradually into practicing longer and practicing harder, and make sure that Andray gets extra hours, not just with the Gilas team, not just with NLEX, but by himself doing conditioning and maybe shooting some baskets," said Guiao.

Guiao hopes to start holding daily practices once the PBA reaches the finals as more players will be available by then.

ESPN5's JC Ansis contributed to this report.