Chot Reyes adds UP Maroons Desiderio, Manuel in Gilas pool

Jason Mercene, Fox Sports Asia

University of the Philippines veterans Paul Desiderio and Jett Manuel have been included in the Gilas pool during the formal press launch of the partnership between Gilas and Chooks-to-Go Monday night at the Makati Shangri-la Hotel.

“They were invited because they were once part of the Gilas family. Sabi nga ni coach Chot (Reyes), ‘Once you’re a part of Gilas, they’ll always be a part,’” Gilas team manager Butch Antonio said.

Desiderio and Manuel have are now part of the growing Gilas pool that includes PBA rookies led by Mac Belo, Mike Tolomia, among others. Each of the 12 PBA teams will also be contributing one player from its roster when once Gilas begins training next year.

Desiderio was once part of U-18 national team whicg participated in the FIBA World Cup, while Manuel had actively tried out for youth teams before.

Antonio added there’s no official pool yet for Gilas that will participate in the SEABA tournament in March 2017.

For Desiderio, being merely included in the Gilas pool is already a blessing in itself.

“Parang napaaga yung Pasko ko (kung ganun),” said Desiderio, who has been name to the Mythical 5 of UAAP Season 79.

“It’s always been my dream to play for Gilas or have the Philippine (flag) in my chest one way or another,” shared Manuel. – Jason Mercene