New 20-man pool, 2 international tourneys for Smart GilasBy Musong R. Castillo
Philippine Daily Inquirer
MANILA, Philippines — SMART Gilas-Pilipinas again received yesterday full backing from the PBA in its coming two international campaigns in January to boost its preparation for the Fiba Asia qualifying for the 2014 World Championships.
Coach Chot Reyes was assured by PBA commissioner Chito Salud of full support in allowing the national program to come up with a new 20-man pool as agreed upon in a PBA board resolution inked last March.
And that pool can again be upgraded—depending on the need that Reyes sees—after the squad plays in the Dubai Invitational Cup from Jan. 10 to 19 and then the King’s Cup in Hong Kong the following week.
Salud expects Reyes’ new 20-man roster to be forwarded to the PBA office “sooner than later” considering that the two tournaments are just over three months away.
“This is the PBA’s way of reaffirming its support for the national team,” Salud told reporters yesterday before the start of a regular twinbill at the SM Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay.
Meantime, Salud had already come to terms in principle with Davao del Sur Gov. Douglas Cagas for the holding of the PBA All-Star Game in the city of Digos from May 1 to 6.
The Gilas five won the Jones Cup in Taipei last August and placed fourth in the Fiba-Asia Cup, formerly the Stankovic Cup, last month in Tokyo, Japan. Reyes then sat down with Salud after evaluating the national squad’s performance.
With Marcus Douthit as the 21st member of the pool, Reyes will be holding practices every Monday at 8 to 10 p.m. at the PhilSports Arena after he comes up with the new roster.
The teams that played in Taipei and Japan didn’t have Jason Castro, Ryan Reyes and Kelly Williams of Talk ‘N Text, who were all out because of injuries.
They are expected to be named in the new pool along with LA Tenorio, Jeff Chan, Gabe Norwood and Larry Fonacier, who were all impressive in the Jones and Fiba-Asia Cups.