THE 19th Asian Games in Hangzhou start in 17 days with Team Philippines ready to leave in batches—including world-class bets Olympic and world champion weightlifter Hidilyn Diaz-Naranjo and world pole vault silver medalist Ernest John “EJ” Obiena who’ll be flying to China from separate origins abroad.
Seven of the players who saw action in the FIBA World Cup are also on the men’s basketball roster based on the Entry by Names (EBN) that the Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) submitted to the Hangzhou Asian Games Organizing Committee in July.
Also, there will be no Russian and Belarusian athletes seeking Paris Olympics qualification in the Asian Games set from September 23 to October 8.
The Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP), like all other national sports associations, were tasked to meet the EBN deadline last July 25.
On SBP’s list are World Cup veterans Kiefer Ravena, Scottie Thompson, Roger Pogoy, June Mar Fajardo, CJ Perez, Japeth Aguilar and Jamie Malonzo.
Dwight Ramos, Renz Abando, Kai Sotto and naturalized player Jordan Clarkson as well as AJ Edu, are not on the roster and in their places are Chris Newsome, Calvon Oftana, Brandon Rosser and naturalized players Justin Brownlee and Ange Kouame.
The EBN also listed Chot Reyes and Tim Cone as head and assistant coaches.
The SBP and Philippine Basketball Association (PBA), however, look to modify the composition of the 5×5 team and have scheduled a press conference on Thursday to make an announcement.
The EBN, however, is considered the final and official lineup for a country’s delegation in all sports, POC president Rep. Abraham “Bambol” Tolentino said.
“The deadline for the Entry by Names [EBN]was last July 25 and whatever list a national Olympic committee submitted is deemed official,” Tolentino said.
Tolentino also said Brownlee and Kouame are eligible for the Asian Games for the simple rule that they only need a valid Philippine passport.
“Only the passport,” Tolentino said.
The Olympic Council of Asia (OCA), meanwhile, shut the Asian Games’ door on Russian and Belarusian athletes hoping to qualify for the Paris Olympics through Hangzhou.
The OCA decision was prompted by an instruction from tghe International Olympic Committee (IOC), which said that including Russians and Belarusians in the Asian Games is “not feasible due to technical reasons.”
The OCA has earlier agreed on the participation of Russians and Belarusians, who are banned to compete and seek Olympic berths by several international federations.
The OCA announced that some 500 Russians and Belarusians were supposed to see action Hangzhou primarily in boxing, wrestling and gymnastics.
The Philippines is fielding 395 athletes who will see action in 40 sports in Hangzhou.
A total of 481 events gold medals are up grabs in Hangzhou.
Diaz-Naranjo will be flying to Hangzhou from Bahrain where she set up training camp for the Riyadh world championships and Hangzhou, while Obiena will come in from Eugene, Oregon, where he’ll participate in the final of the Wanda Diamond League Series.