With young stars in tow, Douthit says Gilas ‘100 times better’ than before
In Marcus Douthit’s eyes, the time is nearing that the Philippines would no longer resort to naturalizing players for international competitions.
“We got younger guys coming up, 16-year-olds who are 7-footers. You know what I mean? Being naturalized, that’s kind of probably shying away soon, which is better for the country because now people can’t tell if they got advantage,” he said.
The naturalized big man visited Gilas Pilipinas’ Thursday evening practice and was left in awe with how far the program has come since it first started.
“It’s 100 times better than what it was when I started,” he said. “It’s great to see to see these many players practicing. Back in my time, we were like 10 to 12 guys. Now, there’s like 20 of them ready to play. They’re still playing with their teams as well. It’s great to see that their committed to play for the country.”
Douthit rekindled his bond with the coaching staff and witnessed the new breed of national team players, most of whom will see action in the 2017 Southeast Asian Games.
The 37-year-old also expressed his glee seeing Kiefer Ravena and Ray Parks join the national team anew, with the two getting one step closer in finally making the leap to the PBA.
“We’re getting older. Kiefer’s 23, and Ray’s 24. And as they get older, they get more experience. As they head to the PBA, they already are kind of like veterans because playing for the national team, you earn your stripe. There’s harder competition in the international game and when they go to the PBA already, they are going to make the leap,” he said.
“I’m excited for them. I kind of look forward to see them play for the home crowd. They tried internationally and, obviously, home is here. I’m excited to see him in the PBA and see what he can do to become one of the top players in the league. After waiting and waiting and waiting for Ray and Kiefer to join, finally the wait is over.”
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