Ex-PBA Ben Mbala imported into World Cup qualifiers list

BEN Mbala and eight other former PBA importers have been shortlisted in their respective countries for the February window of Fiba World Cup 2023 Qualifiers.

Familiar faces in Fiba World Cup qualifiers

The former La Salle center will banner Cameroon in Group B of the Africa qualifiers as the Indomitable Lions take on Salah Mejri-led Tunisia; South Sudan, with Emmanuel Malou of the Adelaide 36ers; and Rwanda.

Current Meralco reinforcement Tony Bishop has also been included in Panama’s pool for the Americas qualifiers where he will face Group A foes Argentina and Venezuela in this window.

Rakeem Christmas, who played for Magnolia in the 2019 Commissioners Cup, will also be the Virgin Islands banner in Group C where the winless side take on Canada and the Bahamas.

Kristofer Acox, who also played for Star in the 2017 Governors Cup, is also part of Iceland for the European qualifiers as they play in Group H and will face Italy in a two-game series in this sequence.

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Of course, former Terrafirma importer Lester Prosper will support Indonesia as a naturalized player when Timnas face Saudi Arabia and Jordan in Group C of the Asian qualifiers.

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Ex-Asian imports are also numerous on the ground with the Iranian Mohammad Jamshidi (Meralco, 2016 Governors’ Cup), the Jordanian Mahmoud Abdeen (San Miguel, 2016 Governors’ Cup), the Korean Lee Gwan Hee (Phoenix, 2016 Governors’ ‘ Cup) and Seiya Ando of Japan (Meralco, Governors Cup 2015) all in consideration for their respective nations.

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Speaking of Japan, Matthew Aquino of the Shinshu Brave Warriors is part of the Akatsuki Five roster alongside his peers from our Pinoy B.League imports, namely Takumi Saito (Nagoya Diamond Dolphins) and Daichi Taniguchi (Ibaraki robots).

Dwight Ramos and Thirdy Ravena aren’t the only ones to answer their country’s call either, with Shiga Lakestars’ Ovie Soko featuring in the UK campaign in Group B and Niigata Albirex BB’s Rosco Allen assisting Hungary in the group E, both in Europe. qualifiers.

Other familiar faces in this second qualifying window include former Smart Gilas prospect CJ Giles, who is now Bahrain’s naturalized player; former Westports Malaysia Dragons center Will Artino, who also fills the same role for Chinese Taipei; and Wu Hsiao-jin, a teammate of Jason Brickman in the Kaohsiung Aquas of the T1 League.


NBA players are also plentiful in the qualifiers led by Joe Johnson, Jordan Bell and Langston Galloway for the United States.

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Former NBA pros representing their country in this window include Anthony Bennett (Canada), Carlos Delfino (Argentina), Bruno Caboclo and Marcelinho Huertas (Brazil), Mario Hezonja (Croatia), Axel Toupane (France), Tornike Shengelia ( Georgia), Nick Calathes and Kostas Papanikolaou (Greece), Gal Mekel (Israel), Nico Mannion (Italy), Rodions Kurucs (Latvia), Nemanja Nedovic (Serbia), Jonas Jerebko (Sweden) and Shane Larkin (Turkey).

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