A 17-man pool featuring players with international experience, size, speed and outside shooting was named by Gilas-Pilipinas coach Chot Reyes yesterday to handle the task of taking the Philippine back to the World Basketball Championship scene next year.
Together with naturalized Filipino Marcus Douthit and 7-foot amateur standout Greg Slaughter, Reyes assembled a pool of 15 PBA pros led by seven members of Philippine Cup champion Talk ‘N Text and Petron Blaze’s 6-foot-10 center June Mar Fajardo.
Most of those named in the pool all played under Reyes when the Philippines won the Jones Cup in August last year in Taipei, with MVP LA Tenorio of Barangay Ginebra leading the bunch.
Jason Castro, Jimmy Alapag, Larry Fonacier, Ryan Reyes, Ranidel de Ocampo, Kelly Williams and Jared Dillinger of Talk ‘N Text, Rain or Shine’s Jeff Chan and Gabe Norwood, Marc Pingris of San Mig Coffee, Sonny Thoss of Alaska, and Japeth Aguilar and Gary David of Globalport round out the pool.
“We made our decisions based on the needs (of the team),” Reyes told scribes at the league’s offices in Libis, Quezon City. “Everyone in that list has been informed and agreed to be part of the pool.
“Everybody said yes and that’s why we are excited,” he continued. “I think people are going to come in and give it their best.”
Gilas-Pilipinas will be gunning to finish at least third in the Fiba-Asia Qualifier in August in Manila to be able to go to the World’s proper in Madrid next year.
The Filipinos will be battling continental powers China, Iran, Lebanon, South Korea, Jordan and Qatar in the Fiba-Asia, and Reyes feels that he and his staff have addressed all of the Philippines’ weaknesses when ranged against those teams.
“The pool that we have answers the needs that we have identified earlier,” Reyes explained. “We need to be very versatile. We need to play up-tempo and go down low if we need to.”