Gilas may field full lineup as Douthit passes muster | Inquirer Sports

Gilas may field full lineup as Douthit passes muster

By: - Sports Editor / @ftjochoaINQ
/ 01:43 AM September 20, 2014
Jimmy Alapag and Marcus Douthit

Jimmy Alapag and Marcus Douthit

INCHEON, South Korea—After days of dealing with fears apparently of its own making, the Philippines will now officially be able to field a full complement of players for the basketball competition at the 17th Asian Games here.

That was the easy part.

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Now, it’s up to Gilas Pilipinas to deliver on the hardcourt after running yet into another hurdle in Manila, where at least one practice session has already been washed out by a ferocious storm that cut a swath across parts of Luzon on Friday, hours before the Games opened here.

National coach Chot Reyes said on his Twitter account that team manager Aboy Castro, who attended the technical meeting here on Friday, informed him that Marcus Douthit was cleared as a replacement for Andray Blatche, ending speculations that Gilas Pilipinas will shoot for its first Asian Games gold medal in over five decades with an 11-man roster.

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“Fr Aboy Castro in Incheon: ‘Technical meeting finished. No issues. No 1 brought up Marcus elig. We will play with 12 man roster incl Marcus,’” Reyes posted on his account.

Castro is flying back to Manila tonight to deliver the passports of the players. Gilas Pilipinas will leave Manila for this South Korean coastal city on Saturday.

Castro also remained optimistic the turbulent weather in Manila won’t in any way interfere with Gilas Pilipinas’ flight plans.

“Hoping for the best. It’s only the weather we cannot control but we have contingencies,” Castro said.

Also cleared was Jimmy Alapag, the veteran skipper who had previously announced he was quitting his national-team career to give way to younger players in the Gilas program.

Alapag was asked to reconsider as a replacement for Jayson Castro, who will skip the Asiad due to an injury.

The Philippine secretariat confirmed the report. In a press release e-mailed to media offices, the secretariat said one of its members attended the technical meeting: “No questions were asked. Only a minor confusion on the players’ jersey numbers had to be addressed.”

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Fears were raised that several countries would protest the inclusion of Douthit in the Gilas Pilipinas roster. The New Yorker, who led the Philippines to the silver medal in the Fiba Asia championship last year, was reinstated back to the national team after Blatche was thumbed down due to eligibility issues.

Blatche played for the Philippines in the World Cup, powering Gilas Pilipinas to a 1-4 record that included near-wins against Argentina and Croatia.

Reports coming out of Manila, however, had it that Typhoon “Mario” has wiped out one Gilas Pilipinas practice with another in danger.

Douthit and Alapag will join June Mar Fajardo, Marc Pingris, Ranidel de Ocampo, Japeth Aguilar, Jeff Chan, Paul Lee, LA Tenorio, Gary David, Jared Dillinger and Gabe Norwood.

They hope to end a long gold drought in basketball but are expected to face stiff competition from China, Iran and host South Korea.

Rumors earlier spread that teams would protest the inclusion of Douthit as a replacement for Blatche, but it could not be traced exactly where the report came from.

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TAGS: 17th Asian Games, Basketball, Gilas Pilipinas, Incheon South Korea
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