Gilas Pilipinas II could have holdovers from previous national team
Version 2 of the national program could have carryovers from the previous Smart Gilas squad if Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas executive director Renauld “Sonny” Barrios has his way.
Barrios Tuesday broached the idea of bringing back some, if not most, of the Smart Gilas I players who are now making waves in their professional careers.
“As far as identifying players is concerned, of course you start with PBA players who were Smart Gilas I players,” said Barrios on the pro league’s commitment to lend its stars to the national team.
The PBA gave its word to form a 16-man pool from which the SBP could pick out players to fill up roster spots for the men’s national squad to the 2013 Fiba Asia Championship, the qualifier for the 2014 Fiba World Championship in Spain.
Powerade’s JV Casio, this year’s top rookie pick, and Marcio Lassiter were instrumental in helping the national dribblers finish fourth in the Fiba Asia Championship in Wuhan, China, last year.
Petron’s Chris Lutz, Talk ‘N Text’s Japeth Aguilar, Dylan Ababou of Red Bull and Jason Ballesteros of Meralco were also part of the team.
“Whether they would automatically come in would be something else,” said Barrios.
Barrios said he has had preliminary talks with PBA commissioner Chito Salud and the Smart Gilas management but nothing yet has been cast in stone.
“The willingness to supply players to the national team came from the PBA and we’re very thankful for the gesture,” said Barrios.
“But to me, it’s too early to name PBA players at this point. For one, the PBA will have its draft in August and many things could still happen,” he added.
Smart Gilas II will be formed as soon as the SBP appoints a head coach from a pool of coaches, which includes Chot Reyes, Norman Black, Ryan Gregorio and Jong Uichico.
There’s no announcement yet from the SBP if Smart Gilas I head coach Rajko Toroman would be back for another tour of duty.