Gilas Pilipinas takes on tough PBA selection
MANILA, Philippines — Without naturalized center Marcus Douthit boosting the national squad, coach Chot Reyes considers the PBA All-Stars stronger than Gilas Pilipinas.
The two sides collide Sunday night in the 25th edition of the PBA All-Star Game, featuring the best players in the pro league all on the same floor at MOA Arena.
“If you take a look, that team [PBA All-Stars] might be an even more individually talented team than Gilas,” said Reyes. “That’s how deep the talent pool in the PBA is.”
Reyes said without the 6-foot-10 Douthit, Gilas will have nobody to match up with the seven-foot Greg Slaughter.
He also thinks that there’s no better shooter than James Yap and that the PBA stars are loaded with great point guards.
“So they have everything in that team and that could very well be the national team,” said Reyes.
San Mig’s Mark Barroca, Joe Devance and Peter June Simon will join Yap and Slaughter in the all-star squad along with San Miguel’s Marcio Lassiter, Ginebra’s Mac Baracael and Chris Ellis, Alaska’s Sonny Thoss and Calvin Abueva and KG Canaleta of Talk ‘N Text.
Playing for Gilas are Ginebra’s Japeth Aguilar and LA Tenorio, San Miguel’s June Mar Fajardo, Rain Or Shine’s Paul Lee, Jeff Chan, Gabe Norwood and Beau Belga, San Mig’s Marc Pingris, Meralco’s Gary David and Jared Dillinger, Talk ‘N Text’s Larry Fonacier, Ranidel de Ocampo, Jayson Castro and Jimmy Alapag.
Gilas is preparing for the Fiba World Cup in Spain (Aug. 30 to Sept. 14) and Asian Games in Incheon South Korea (Sept. 19 to Oct. 4).
The Nationals qualified in the worlds for the first time in 36 years after placing second in the Fiba Asia Championship held in Manila last year.
“We’re here for them, the Gilas Pilipinas team. We’re here to try to get them better,” said San Mig coach Tim Cone, designated coach of the PBA all-stars.
As the winningest PBA coach with 16 titles, Cone earlier said it would be a defensive face-off from start to finish.
“That’s going to be our approach in the game. They [Gilas] are going to come in more prepared and we’re here to compete and challenge them,” said Cone.
“It’s going to be a tough defensive battle.”
The two sides met last year in Digos City and the battle ended in a standoff at 124-all with Arwind Santos of San Miguel Beer and Chan winning co-MVP honors.