Smith believes he will be a great fit for Gilas
Interested in playing for Gilas Pilipinas, Greg Smith made quite an impression when he joined the national team’s Thursday evening practice at Meralco Gym.
Coach Chot Reyes didn’t deny that he liked what he saw from the Blackwater import, who gave a glimpse of what the future holds if indeed the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) pursues the naturalization.
“He picked things up very quickly and that’s very typical of players who’ve been to the NBA. They’ve seen it all, they got a lot of experience. But the thing we like about Greg is he’s 26. He’s very young. He’s still got a lot of upside, a lot of potential,” he said. “Even at that young age, he’s already been in the NBA for five years. Because of that experience, he’s able to pick things up very quickly. His (knowledge of system) is still not yet to the level of the others, but we could already see what he’s capable of.”
However, Reyes knows that the process of naturalization is a tedious, which might throw a wrench on SBP’s plan of finding a backup player in times when Andray Blatche is unavailable.
Still, the early turnouts are proving to be promising with the way Smith performed on Thursday.
“What I like about (Smith) is it was Blackwater which wanted to come and work out with us,” said Reyes. “Of course, our door is always open and big props to Blackwater management, because they really want to help the team in that manner. We’ve always put out the word that our practice is open to players who are thinking about applying for naturalization.”
Smith, meanwhile, is just elated with the opportunity to work out with the national team.
“Our team manager (Johnson Martines) told me about the opportunity, and I told him, ‘Why not?’ This is a big opportunity for me to come out here, showcase my skills, and perform with these guys — the best players in the country. So why not come here and show what I got to be a part of this team?,” he said. “It was
good. very productive. I think I fit their system. I think I’ll be a great fit.”
Though the wheels haven’t turned yet, Smith said that he would love to hit the court with the Gilas pool members, saying that it would be his pleasure to represent a country he fell deeply in love with.
“It’ll be a blessing to play with these guys. These guys are great and I played against a couple of them and they’re all good. The coaching staff is great. This team is great. Obviously, I practiced with them to showcase my abilities,” he said.
“I’m absolutely blessed for this and I’ll be blessed to have a call to come back.”
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