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June Mar Fajardo and Marc Pingris during the 2014 FIBA World Cup. FIBA photo

Philippine national men’s basketball coach Tab Baldwin welcomed the members of the national team pool for their first official practice session on Monday at the Meralco gym and they quickly got to work making up for lost time in preparing for the 2015 FIBA Asia Championship.

Many of the players from the 16-man list the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas requested from the PBA attended the practice and Baldwin is hoping that even some of those that weren’t present can still make it in the near future.

“That’s our list, that’s our team. Those are the guys we have here and for the other ones, we hope we get them in if injuries healed and personal issues are resolved,” Baldwin said.

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USA will defend their world title in China or Philippines in 2019 as the two Asian countries were named finalist in the bidding war for hosting rights of the next FIBA Basketball World Cup. (Photo : Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images)

The bidding war for the hosting rights for the 2019 FIBA Basketball World Cup is heating up, as China and the Philippines step up their campaign to host the huge basketball event.

FIBA is scheduled to announce the host of the 2019 FIBA Basketball World Cup on Friday after trimming the list down to the two Asian countries.

The Philippines, who hosted the 2013 FIBA Asia Championships, is aiming to host the world championships for the first time since 1978. Basketball Federation of the Philippines President Manuel Pangilinan knows they are going up against a powerhouse nation, but he is confident in their bid to host the event.

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Andray Blatche. FIBA photo

Andray Blatche likes Gilas Pilipinas' chances to qualify for the 2016 Olympic basketball tournament.

The naturalized Filipino center arrived in the country on Sunday to begin training with the team for the 2015 FIBA Asia Championship, the qualifier for the Rio competition next year.

"I feel like we have one of the strongest teams," Blatche told reporters at the airport. "As long as we work hard and pay attention to detail, we should come up on top."

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Jimmy Alapag (right) in FIBA World Cup action. FIBA photo

Former Philippine national men’s basketball team captain Jimmy Alapag may have retired from active duty but the sight of him in a familiar No. 4 practice jersey and sneakers brought back plenty of memories for both the Gilas Pilipinas pool members as well as the media in attendance at the team’s practice session on Monday.

The image of Alapag hitting crucial three-pointers both in the Philippines’ run to the 2014 FIBA Basketball World Cup and the world stage tournament was a fitting send-off for the player they called the ‘Mighty Mouse’.

But some of those could not help but wonder about the prospect of an Alapag comeback, not least among them his former teammate and old buddy, Asi Taulava.

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Adidas makes $200M bid to sign Rockets star James Harden (August 04, 2015)
Darren Rovell [ Source: ESPN ]

Adidas has submitted a bid of $200 million over 13 years to sign Houston Rockets guard James Harden, sources told ESPN.com. Scott Halleran/Getty Images

Adidas has made a big play for the biggest basketball sneaker free agent of the summer of 2015.

The company has submitted a bid of $200 million over 13 years to sign Houston Rockets guard James Harden, sources told ESPN.com. Nike, whose deal with Harden recently expired, has until the end of next week to match the deal or lose him.

A $200 million offer is huge, considering it represents half of what the brand paid for 11 seasons as the NBA's official uniform supplier. Earlier this year, Adidas announced that it would not fight to renew that deal, which will see its competitor Nike take over after the 2016-17 season.

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Kelly Williams hurts right knee during Gilas training (August 04, 2015)
Mark Giongco [ Source: Inquirer ]

Kelly Williams being helped off the court by teammates. Photo by Tristan Tamayo/INQUIRER.net

Talk ‘N Text forward Kelly Williams hurt his right knee just shortly after Gilas Pilipinas started its practice Monday night at Meralco Gym.

Williams injured his knee while participating in the drills.

The 33-year-old Williams stayed down on the floor for a few minutes while clutching his knee.

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Abueva can’t wait for Philippine Gilas stint (August 04, 2015)
Abac Cordero [ Source: Philippine Star ]

Calvin Abueva. Sports5/Pranz Kaeno Billones

MANILA, Philippines - Calvin Abueva, the most hated man in an Alaska uniform, can’t wait to don the Philippine jersey in the FIBA Asia Championship in September.

“I’m motivated,” said Abueva, always a thorn to any opposing team in the PBA.

When there’s a commotion on the floor, it’s most likely you’ll find Abueva in the middle of it, and he often gets involved with the opposing fans as well.

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Altamirano lauds Manila teams after 3x3 feat (August 04, 2015)
Camille B. Naredo [ Source: ABS CBN News ]

International Basketball

MANILA, Philippines – Coach Eric Altamirano expressed his pride in the Manila North and Manila West teams that made it to the semi-finals of the recently concluded FIBA 3x3 World Tour Manila Masters, noting that the Filipino players more than held their own against some of the best teams in the world.

Manila North and Manila West faced off in the semi-finals, with the Calvin Abueva-led Manila North squad dethroning defending champions Manila West, 21-18, in an exhilarating contest.

They bowed to the more experienced Novi Sad AlWahda team in the championship game, 21-14, yet still earned a berth to the FIBA 3x3 World Tour Finals in Abu Dhabi this October.

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Asi Taulava and Gabe Norwood were both named to the Gilas Pilipinas training pool. Photos by Tristan Tamayo/INQUIRER.net

Invited for another possible tour of duty for Gilas Pilipinas, Rain or Shine swingman Gabe Norwood feels no less than “honored” to have an opportunity to wear the Philippines’ colors.

The 42-year-old Asi Taulava, meanwhile, is “blessed” to get a chance to be part of the national team once again.

Norwood and Taulava both expressed their gratitude on social media after the 16-man pool for the 2015 Fiba Asia Championships buildup was released by the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas on Monday.

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Andray Blatche of Gilas Pilipinas. Photo from Sports5 Twitter account

Less than 24 hours after arriving from the United States, naturalized player Andray Blatche buckled down and got to work right away, shrugging off the fatigue brought about by the long trip.

Packing some extra weight and still a ways off from being in game shape, the 6-foot-11 NBA veteran joined the Philippine national men’s basketball pool for a two-hour session open to the media on Monday.

He has not played in an official tournament since wrapping up his Chinese Basketball Association season in February though he has kept his feel for the game by participating in pickup games.

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