Cadets fall in for duty


If there’s one sport where the Philippines will never run out of talent, it’s basketball.

GMA News TV’s All Sports this Sunday morning (9:30 a.m.) will showcase this anew as it presents the Smart Gilas cadets’ campaign in the 24th Dubai International basketball championship last month.

Joining naturalized center Marcus Douthit in this crusade were Garvo Lanete (San Beda/NLEX), RR Garcia (FEU/NLEX), Ronald Pascual (SSC), Kevin Alas (Letran), Jake Pascual (San Beda), Greg Slaughter (Ateneo),  Fil-Am recruits Justin Melton, Isaac Holstein and Matt Rosser, and PBA players KG Canaleta, Ronjay Buenafe and JR Reyes.

It’s a young, spirited and gutsy crew that shows the Philippines’ rich reservoir of basketball know-how.  Exposing them to hoops beyond Philippine shores is a move in the right direction because you’ll never get any better if you keep playing against the same guys that you can easily beat on most occasions.

The opposition is formidable, what with the Middle Eastern club teams being beefed up by NBA and D-League veterans.   There’s a lot of  size to deal with like that of Al-Ahli Dubai, the host club that paraded a nimble seven-footer from Senegal named Cheik Samb.  The local players aren’t that small either.

And it’s clear that the competition is no longer an awkward, fumbling lot like when it was just beginning to learn the game and play overseas. It’s evident that the Middle Eastern teams have spent handsomely to get European coaching.  The kick-outs to three-point shooters are a staple strategy as opposed to the more NBA-like approach of dumping the ball into the post to start most offensive sets.

In this Sunday’s presentation, the young nationals roar back from a sputtering start to stop Mottahed Lebanon, 79-77.  The Lebanese side is no pushover what with American imports Marc Salyers and Eric Chatfield.  Key defensive stops and excellent passing plays kept the team in the thick of the battle.

Don’t be confused with the First Security Group uniforms of the PH squad.  It’s still a Philippine team that simply teamed up with a corporate partner for a fundamentally club tournament.

The cadets could very well be the core of the Myanmar SEA Games team this December.  The SEAG basketball tournament is never really a problem except if a Philippine squad gets too cocky or receives a  raw officiating deal that messes up a tight game.  There is really no need to beef up the squad with PBA players for the SEAG tourney.

The other Asian tournaments are a different matter though.  Club competitions and major events like the Jones Cup will always need the size and shooting skills of the seasoned pros.  In the long run, however, the cadet team provides a regular pool for the national team where talents can be drawn if the PBA schedule cannot accommodate the release of key players.

GMA Sports correspondent Chino Trinidad revealed that the nationals are trying to master the drive and draw play that capitalizes on excellent dribbling skills but with an emphasis on creating gaps for snipers from the perimeter.  In a way, it has overtones of European hoops but it is really more to offset the size disadvantage we regularly face in international matches.

Practicing together regularly and competing abroad will also give the young players a feel of the system coach Chot Reyes wants without having to start from scratch.

Copyright 2014. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
To subscribe to the Philippine Daily Inquirer newspaper in the Philippines, call +63 2 896-6000 for Metro Manila and Metro Cebu or email your subscription request here.
Factual errors? Contact the Philippine Daily Inquirer's day desk. Believe this article violates journalistic ethics? Contact the Inquirer's Reader's Advocate. Or write The Readers' Advocate:
c/o Philippine Daily Inquirer Chino Roces Avenue corner Yague and Mascardo Streets, Makati City, Metro Manila, Philippines Or fax nos. +63 2 8974793 to 94


  • Tagle: Christ’s resurrection a message of hope to faithful
  • Aquino vows to intensify anti-corruption drive further
  • Unease in Vatican over cardinal’s luxury flat—report
  • Nepal calls off search for missing guides on Everest—official
  • Pope’s Easter Message ‘Urbi et Orbi’
  • Sports

  • Rain or Shine grabs No.4, sends Ginebra to 8th
  • Red-hot Alaska rips injury-depleted San Mig Coffee
  • Pacquiao courtesy call to Aquino set for Monday
  • Nick Calathes suspension a reminder of supplement risk
  • Teague scores 28 as Hawks soar past Pacers in Game 1
  • Lifestyle

  • Angono petroglyphs in danger of disappearing
  • Britain’s baby Prince George visits Australian zoo
  • Noli Yamsuan, Cardinal Sin’s ‘official’ photographer: ‘I could smell the aftershave lotion of the Pope’
  • Simplifying and lightening life
  • Where to go for Easter night-out
  • Entertainment

  • Show-biz celebrities’ other choices of summer getaway
  • Why ‘Noah’ can’t dock his ark at Philippine theaters
  • Acclaimed artist goes wild while on holiday
  • Believing in this mermaid
  • Missing Xian
  • Business

  • Top-selling insurance agent opens her dream café
  • Connecting and transacting with one another
  • Building wealth for health
  • Why Mandaue Foam buys, rather than rents, space
  • A workplace of new possibilities
  • Technology

  • Nasa’s moon-orbiting robot crashes down
  • Netizens pay respects to Gabriel Garcia Marquez
  • Nokia recalls 30,000 chargers for Lumia 2520 tablet
  • Facebook rolls out ‘nearby friends’ feature
  • Netizens seethe over Aquino’s ‘sacrifice’ message
  • Opinion

  • Epiphany
  • Unpaid creditor vs distressed debtor
  • Moving on
  • From culinary desert to paradise
  • Response to China: ‘Usjaphil’
  • Global Nation

  • Tim Tebow’s charity hospital in Davao seen to open in 7 months
  • OFW died of Mers-CoV in Saudi Arabia, says family
  • Aquino, Obama to tackle US pivot to Asia during state visit
  • Asia seeks Obama’s assurance in territorial spats
  • Cesar Chavez movie sparks memories of Fil-Am labor leaders
  • Marketplace