Chot unveils Gilas 12 | Inquirer Sports
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Chot unveils Gilas 12

By: - Reporter / @MusongINQ
/ 01:36 AM April 29, 2017

LUCENA—As expected, June Mar Fajardo and Andray Blatche led the list of players who will make up the Gilas Pilipinas team that will try to claim the Seaba championship next month.

Coach Chot Reyes named the team after Friday night’s exhibition match between the Gilas pool and the Luzon All-Stars, which the Nationals won, 122-111, at Quezon Convention Center.

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The rest of the team includes Phoenix rookie guard Matthew Wright, who was named All-Star MVP for the second straight match. Wright was also a co-MVP when the Gilas pool battled the Mindanao All-Stars to a draw.

Also named to the team were: Calvin Abueva, Japeth Aguilar, Raymond Almazan, Jio Jalalon, Allein Maliksi, RR Pogoy, Terrence Romeo, Troy Rosario and Jason Castro.

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“We don’t want to call this the Final 12 but the Seaba 12,” Reyes said before announcing the names, hinting that changes will still be made for the team that hopes to earn a berth to the next World Championship.

To get there, Gilas Pilipinas has to start with the Seaba tilt, which kicks off in two weeks. The Nationals need to win the crown to book a berth in the Fiba Asia qualifying tournament.

Meanwhile, from Rookie of the Year to Slam Dunk champ, Meralco’s Chris Newsome is carving a deeper and deeper niche in the PBA.

Tapped fourth overall in the Draft by the Bolts last season, Newsome creatively leapt his way to win the centerpiece event of the league’s Skills Challenge on Friday night, nipping GlobalPort’s James Forrester by a point before a roaring, appreciative crowd here.

“It makes me feel blessed knowing that my athleticism hasn’t gone unnoticed,” Newsome said after winning the title in his second try. “I just feel blessed to be able to showcase my talent.”

The 6-foot-1 point guard drilled a windmill jam off the bounce before juggling three balls and going for a flush off-the-glass in the finale to clip the equally athletic Forrester with a total of 87 points.

“I just told James that we want to bring the best out of each other,” Newsome said.

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They did bring out the best in each other as both guards tallied 95 points in the preliminaries and denied Rey Guevarra the chance to win the title for the fourth straight year.

Guevarra tallied just 87 in the classification phase.

Maliksi, the streak-shooting Star off guard, was also a first-time champ after ruling the Three-Point Shootout over Barangay Ginebra’s LA Tenorio by draining his final shot in a well-applauded finals.

Rain or Shine point guard Maverick Ahanmisi, meanwhile, lorded it over the Cloudfone Obstacle Chal lenge and became back-to-back champion after shading San Miguel Beer’s Alex Cabagnot.

Maliksi dropped the last money ball in the enthralling finals against Tenorio to win, 20-18.

“I felt pressured in the end because [I knew that] time was running out,” Maliksi, who took over the place of Paul Lee in the pool, said. “My mind-set was just to make every shot because I knew that my opponent here was myself.”

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TAGS: Andray Blatche, Chot Reyes, Gilas Pilipinas, June Mar Fajardo
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