Reyes: Priority is players who can be on the floor with Fajardo
As much as Gilas Pilipinas would love a backup plan, coach Chot Reyes would rather take everything into account first before recommending someone to be applied for naturalization.
Talks of getting a backup naturalized player surfaced anew on Thursday after Blackwater import Greg Smith worked out with the national team for its evening practice session at Meralco Gym.
That came after Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) president Al Panlilio said he said he wanted a separate pool of naturalized players, where Gilas can pick its man for differing tournaments in times when Andray Blatche is unavailable.
But for Reyes, his priority is to find someone who he thinks can play side-by-side with three-time PBA Most Valuable Player June Mar Fajardo for the team’s next iterations.
“We want to work out with a lot of people, a lot of players as possible, and our priority are the players who can play with and can be on the floor together with June Mar (Fajardo),” he said.
An easy solution for it is to work out with active PBA imports, with TNT reinforcement Donte Greene previously joining Gilas last month before Smith did on Thursday.
Reyes also has his eye on other prospects who could fit in with his system he put in place with the national team.
“Obviously, we’re very interested also with Alex Stepheson, but we think that he will essentially be playing the same position as June Mar. The thing with guys like Donte and Greg is their ability to play with June Mar,” he said.
Greene and Smith have already expressed their willingness to be naturalized if the opportunity presents itself.
However, Reyes said that it’s the least of the team’s concerns as Gilas Pilipinas gears up for the 2017 Seaba Championships in May.
“We have to focus on the Seaba team first. We’ll continue discussions with them maybe after Seaba,” he said.
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.