TNT KaTropa coaching consultant and two-time Olympian Mark Dickel has been tasked to lead the campaign of Gilas Pilipinas Men for the upcoming first window of the 2021 FIBA Asia Cup Qualifiers as Interim Head Coach.
The Philippines will open its campaign with a home game against 2019 Southeast Asian Games silver medalist Thailand on February 20, followed by a road game against Indonesia at the Britama Arena in Jakarta on February 23.
“In his short stint in the Philippines, Coach Mark has performed creditably well”, said Manny V Pangilinan, Chairman Emeritus of the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP).
In his young PBA career that started in the 2018 PBA Governors’ Cup, Dickel was able to help the TNT KaTropa end their five-conference absence from the Finals during the 2019 PBA Commissioner’s Cup.
The 24-man pool of Gilas Pilipinas Men for the upcoming window includes three members of the KaTropa in RR Pogoy, Troy Rosario, and Ray Parks.
“We want to hit the ground running for the upcoming 2021 FIBA Asia Cup Qualifiers,” said Pangilinan. “We all know what he did to help TNT in such a short span and we’re confident he can also move things quickly as we prepare for the first window this February.”
Aside from the three TNT players, also included in the pool are Kiefer Ravena and Poy Erram from NLEX, Christian Standhardinger from NorthPort, Japeth Aguilar from Ginebra, CJ Perez from Columbian, Mac Belo from Blackwater, and Matthew Wright from Phoenix.
Adding youth to the team are recent PBA draftees Isaac Go, Matt and Mike Nieto, Rey Suerte, and Allyn Bulanadi along with Justine Baltazar, Dave Ildefonso, Thirdy Ravena, Kobe Paras, Juan and Javi Gomez de Liano, Jaydee Tungcab, and Dwight Ramos.
SBP intends to announce a full-time head coach by the second window of the 2021 FIBA Asia Cup Qualifiers sometime in November this year.