With region catching up, full force PH squad needed says Uichico
After scouting trips overseas in preparation for the upcoming 2017 Seaba Championships in May, Gilas Pilipinas assistant coach Jong Uichico said that the coaching staff is expecting a tougher fight from the field.
And they every reason to feel so, with a number of the Philippines’ regional foes catching up and employing naturalized players for their respective squads.
“For sure, teams will show up with one naturalized player. It will be a big thing for them because they can fill in the kind of player that they are missing in their rosters, which is a big man,” he said.
Same with what the Philippines did with the naturalization of Andray Blatche, Uichico said that the other countries have followed suit with the aim of dethroning the country from its throne atop of the region.
The Gilas deputy also anticipates a feistier challenge from Thailand and Singapore due to their increased exposure, thanks to the ASEAN Basketball League.
“Thailand will always be strong and the same goes with Singapore. Unlike before that they don’t have much experience, because of the ABL, their level of basketball is improving,” he said.
With the improved level of competition, Uichico feels that Gilas Pilipinas made the right choice by trotting out a team at full strength and with Blatche in tow when it hosts the regional competition.
“We should always send a full strength squad because by sending not a full strength squad, that means we are taking the other teams for granted,” he said. “Sometimes, they say it’s an overkill but we’re there to win. We give the best chance of the team winning.”