David a Gilas five shoo-in; Reyes may tap ‘El Granada’
MANILA, Philippines — Gary David is just a phone call away from sweating it out in the training camp of Smart Gilas Pilipinas II.
The sharp-shooting David, Powerade’s Best Player of the Conference in the Philippine Cup, said he wouldn’t think twice accepting an invitation from the national five after Smart Gilas head coach Chot Reyes expressed interest to get him aboard.
The league’s hottest hand chatted briefly with Reyes during a chance meeting at a recent Coca-Cola function and was told that he should be physically equipped to grind it out with the national team.
“I’m used to getting exhausted and I love the challenge,” said the indefatigable David, nicknamed “El Granada” who has scored at least 24 points for 16 straight games, a phenomenal streak that started in the previous conference.
“He (Reyes) promised to give me a call.”
David had 29 points in a 94-82 Powerade victory over Meralco on Sunday night after exploding for 32 against Rain or Shine. The explosive show earned him the Accel-PBA Player of the Week honors.
An eight-year veteran, David has gone through so much just to get noticed.
He was an underrated superstar despite steadily improving his numbers since his early Air21 Express days (2005-06 season) and collecting numerous awards along the way. He was snubbed twice by the national team, which fielded PBA stars twice, in the 2007 and 2009 Fiba Asia Championship.
David also was ignored by Smart Gilas I, which tapped four PBA stars in the Asian championship last year, even after topping the scoring charts of the pro league.
“It’s the national team and I’m ready to play for the country anytime,” said David, 33, whose only stint with the PH five came in the 2003 Southeast Asian Games in Vietnam.
Smart Gilas operations manager Butch Antonio said the coaching staff would sit down with PBA commissioner Chito Salud to determine the extent of the league’s participation in the national team’s preparations.
Three continental spots for the 2014 Fiba World Championship in Spain are available in the coming Fiba Asia Championship.