Week 1: Who we think should make it to Gilas final 12 | Inquirer Sports

Week 1: Who we think should make it to Gilas final 12

/ 06:16 PM August 06, 2015

INQUIRER.net's top 12 on week 1: June Mar Fajardo, Asi Taulava, Andray Blatche, Marc Pingris, Gabe Norwood, JC Intal, Calvin Abueva, Ranidel De Ocampo, Jayson Castro, Dondon Hontiveros, Terrence Romeo, Jimmy Alapag.

INQUIRER.net’s top 12 on week 1: June Mar Fajardo, Asi Taulava, Andray Blatche, Marc Pingris, Gabe Norwood, JC Intal, Calvin Abueva, Ranidel De Ocampo, Jayson Castro, Dondon Hontiveros, Terrence Romeo, Jimmy Alapag.

The pool of players from which Gilas Pilipinas will form its lineup for the 2015 Fiba Asia Championship in China next month was officially unveiled during the team’s first formal practice early this week.

Only 12 will make the final roster and take part in the country’s Olympic bid against Asia’s best. At this point, naturalized big man Andray Blatche is technically the only shoo-in for the team while the rest will have to earn the remaining spots.

Of course, head coach Tab Baldwin will choose who he believes deserve to make the roster. But everyone has their take on who among the pool of players should make the team and we, the INQUIRER.net sports staff, also have our own.

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Our final 12 list is based on the 16-man PBA lineup recently released by the Samahang Basketball ng Pilipinas and other players present during training. It could change in the coming weeks, depending on performances and availability of the players, leading up to the prestigious tournament itself.

This first attempt is based only from anything that transpired the past week just up to the team’s first official practice on Monday.

Centers

June Mar Fajardo

He has since begged off due to plantar fasciitis on both feet, but everyone’s still hoping that the hands down most dominant player in the country today could still make the final cut and show that he could be a force in the international stage.

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Asi Taulava

He was once the PBA’s most dominant big man, a distinction that now belongs to Fajardo after father time caught up with Asi Taulava.

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But has aging really affected Taulava? At age 42, he is still one of the best centers in he PBA and he doesn’t get the nickname “Ageless” for nothing.

Forwards

Marc Pingris

Also unsure of another Gilas stint due to personal matters but his presence would still be invaluable for the team. Marc Pingris just don’t preach the word “Puso,” he plays it. His lack of size as a power forward is offset by his embodiment of the Filipino heart. He plays with sheer effort, all out hustle and committed defense.

Gabe Norwood

Often criticized for being soft in the physical style of play in the PBA, Gabe Norwood has proven he’s the best and most versatile perimeter defender for Gilas. He can defend multiple positions and he gives Gilas much-needed size and length in the wings.

Also, he dunked on Luis Scola and some Argentinian guy in last year’s World Cup and who knows who he dunks on next?

JC Intal

He gives Gilas added athleticism and a lengthy defender aside from Norwood. Norwood’s a better defender but Intal has an offensive game that extends to the three-point line.

Calvin Abueva

Chances are, Calvin Abueva will grab the rebound before you can even think of going for it. His relentless pursuit of the basketball is uncanny and his desire is unquestionable.

He’s called “The Beast” for a reason. Abueva plays bigger than his actual 6-foot-1 size and his motor is what makes him special.

Abueva doesn’t have an established game outside the shaded area but that’s the only thing he’s not good at yet. He can rebound and go coast to coast, get to the rim and get his team extra possessions—whether it’s diving for the loose ball or coming out of nowhere for the offensive rebound. And he also has his ways to get under the opposing team’s skin.

Ranidel De Ocampo

He’s not the fastest, nor the biggest power forward out there but his mastery in the low block and smooth shooting from the outside makes him a potent offensive weapon.

Every move RDO makes appear to be in slow motion and yet he’s hard to stop. There’s no wasted movement with how fundamentally sound he is.

Guards

Jayson Castro

He’s Asia’s best point guard and that’s enough reason for him to lead Gilas.

Terrence Romeo

He’s unguardable one-on-one. A flat out scorer and a wizard with the basketball. Romeo needs to improve on his decision-making as he tend to force things often times but his scoring and ability to break down the defense will be too hard to pass up.

Love him or hate him, he’ll sure be showcasing the dizzying offensive moves in the international stage.

Dondon Hontiveros

He’s the quintessential shooter the Philippines has always known. Once Dondon Hontiveros gets some space, the scorekeeper better make sure to reserve some space for those buckets.

His veteran presence and experience will also be a big contribution especially to Gilas’ young guys.

Jimmy Alapag

With LA Tenorio begging off last week, Alapag’s leadership will be needed. Often the smallest guy on the court but has the biggest heart.

Alapag retired last January but he has been participating in practice and has said he’s “absolutely” open to returning if needed. He has also kept himself in great shape despite being away from the game for almost a year.

The 37-year-old has done so much for Philippine basketball throughout the years and yet he’s more than willing to do more.

Always a class act, a true professional and born leader.

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Had we really seen the last of him and his clutch threes? Perhaps not.

TAGS: 2015 fiba asia championship, Andray Blatche, Gilas news, Gilas Pilipinas, gilas pool, gilas roster, SBP, Sports, Tab Baldwin

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