The newly unretired Jayson Castro (30), Japeth Aguilar (29), and June Mar Fajardo (27) are among the elder statesmen in the 30-and-under the latest contingent, which includes the likes of LA Revilla and Norbert Torres.
The trio played vital roles in the national team since the 2013 FIBA Asia Championship until the 2016 FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament. But due to the one-player-per-PBA-team policy, Norwood (who gave way to teammate Raymond Almazan), Pingris (Paul Lee), and De Ocampo (Castro; retired from international play) won't be able to join this iteration of Gilas.
As our way of recognizing the work put in the past by these patriotic basketball players, we compiled the best moments from the respective Gilas Pilipinas careers of De Ocampo, Norwood, and Pingris. Props to these men!
The 6'5" forward will always be remembered as the personification of the national team's 'puso' mantra. Pinoy Sakuragi offset the opposing big men's towering height with his tireless hustle. Just ask that South Korean team from the 2013 FIBA Asia...
Even if it meant going up against the other team's tallest player. Calvin Abueva will have big shoes to fill.
Ranidel de Ocampo
The man with the million monikers showed the world how deadly his inside and outside game was. De Ocampo has kept countless defenders guessing whether he will take the three from top of the key, bust a move in the post, or jam it right in your grill.
Kuwait was also put in notice; you don't mess with Hodor.
Good luck finding another player in the mold of Gilas' original defensive lynchpin—one who has to sacrifice a chunk of his game for the good of the team. Like his lookalike Barack, the PBA's very own Mr. President and his exciting play will sorely be missed.
If there's one person who won't feel the same way, though, it's Argentina's Luis Scola.