Collegiate standouts banner hoops roster for 27th SEA GamesBy Celest R. Flores
MANILA, Philippines — There won’t be any additional pro reinforcements, but the Philippine team will be bannered by the top collegiate basketball players in the 27th Southeast Asian Games in Myanmar.
National team head coach Jong Uichico will have the standouts like Bobby Ray Parks Jr., Kiefer Ravena, and Kevin Alas at his disposal as they defend the men’s basketball title in December.
Uichico admitted that he wanted to bring in a couple of players from the PBA, but gave up on the idea with the league keeping a tight schedule for the 2013-2014 season.
“I wanted that [adding pro players], but the PBA schedule won’t permit that,” said Uichico as the PBA opens on November 17.
The multi-titled mentor, though, will have plenty to work with in the SEA Games especially with towering naturalized center Marcus Douthit manning the post.
Rounding up the list, which was submitted to the Samahang Basketball ng Pilipinas on Thursday, are other Gilas cadets Matt Ganuelas, Jake Pascual, Ronald Pascual and Garvo Lanete along with Jericho Cruz (Adamson) Mark Belo (Far Eastern University), Prince Caperal (Arellano), and Kevin Ferrer (University of Santo Tomas).
Smart Gilas’ mentor Chot Reyes said on Twitter that University of the East’ guard Roi Sumang, who is nursing an injury, and La Salle’s Arnold Van Opstal are on the reserve list.
“Our line-up is okay,” said Uichico, one of the winningest coaches in the PBA. “I think we’ll be very competitive as we try to defend or title.”
Parks, Ravena, Lanete and Pascual are on their second tour of duty as they were part in that roster that bagged title in 2011 under then-Ateneo coach Norman Black.