FIBA World Cup Qualifiers: Injured Castro, Jalalon out in Gilas game vs Australia

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(CNN Philippines) — Gilas Pilipinas head coach Chot Reyes revealed the 12-man rotation that he will pit against Australia in the second window of the 2018 FIBA World Cup qualifiers.

Reyes announced the lineup Wednesday on Facebook Live.

The lineup is composed of Kiefer Ravena, Kevin Alas, Roger Pogoy, Matthew Wright, Allein Maliksi, Calvin Abueva, Gabe Norwood, Carl Bryan Cruz, Japeth Aguilar, Abu Tratter, June Mar Fajardo, and Andray Blatche.

Jayson Castro and Jio Jalalon got cut from the roster due to injuries.

"We tried him (Castro) to go hard in practice and he's not there at all, so we decided it's not worth the risk. He's going to sit out (the game) together with Jio who is also feeling some slight pain in his leg," Reyes said.

"We've decided to just play the guys who are not experiencing any nagging injuries at this point," he added.

With Castro and Jalalon out, Reyes said this is the time for Ravena and Alas to show their capabilities.

"Both of them have been playing very well in the PBA. You all know Kiefer accounted himself very well in the first window. It's hard not having our top point guard, but this is an opportunity for Kiefer to step in and for Kevin to get a lot more minutes than he usually gets," he said.

Facing a strong Australia side will be a tall order for Gilas, but Reyes is optimistic that the Filipinos can compete.

"It's going to be very difficult so we just have to find little ways hopefully to throw them off their rhythm a little bit. Who knows, we catch them in an off night that will allow us to be competitive," Reyes said.

The Philippines and Australia will enter the matchup as the only undefeated squads in Group B, together with Japan and Chinese-Taipei.

Gilas and Australia will battle for the top spot on February 22 in Melbourne.