When Philippine Basketball National Team, the Gilas, Head Coach Joseller “Yeng” Guiao released the names of the players who will compose the 20-man pool for the fifth window of the FIBA World Cup Asian Qualifiers, a number of surprises came about, which we already mentioned earlier.
Which of these surprises do you think benefits, or puts to a disadvantage, the Gilas team? Here’s my take on them.
Where’s Blatche and Romeo
Not surprisingly, many were caught by surprise with the non-inclusion of the team’s original naturalized player and the supposed next face of the team.
I understand Guiao’s experiment on Blatche but I also would like him to give the man another shot at getting back to the team.
While I dislike Blatche’s effort on the defensive end lately and his advancing age, his size and capability to sink shots from the perimeter is a big plus for our team.
He is the perfect man for our power forward slot for the world championship, if Gilas gets there, where the competition gets bigger and tougher.
I also like the reward to Standhardinger and Pringle for their showing in the latest completed international games but, like it or not, Blatche is an entirely different player. That is if he is in shape, which he exhibited having trouble with in the past.
I would not also forget how he stood for his teammates during the melee.
I will always be on the side of June Mar Fajardo when it comes to reactions during the brawl as I mentioned before. I wished they would have approached this confrontation in a different manner, but it is what it is.
Blatche would always have my admiration because he was there for RR Pogoy and did not leave the seemingly bullied smaller Filipinos during Australia’s visit despite the probability of sanctions.
I’m not campaigning for his action of throwing a punch but looking at mild-mannered Jason Castro barreling a flying punch made me think something happened there to spark the unsavory reaction.
He was duly punished for the act and showed remorse for it. It should still be fitting if he will be back for the battles next year no matter what happens during the fifth window.
Blatche expressed being lost and confused through Instagram after being left out of the pool. He earlier express his willingness to go to war and was just waiting for his phone to ring for the call.
I do agree with Guiao on the overflow of talent at guard and Romeo’s case is a coaches’ preference. I’m sure a lot of Gilas fans agree with me when I say Lee, Cabagnot, Thompson, Lassiter and Tenorio will just duplicate each other’s contribution.
Of course, there will be differences here and there but the more one will look closer to their contributions, they look more and more similar in many ways.
Here come the Lieutenant and the Spiderman!
Tenorio’s case is again a preference which I won’t argue. Santos, though, is a long overdue case.
Santos is another perfect specimen for international competitions. He is long, has long reach, can defend bigger or smaller guys, and more importantly, has an accurate three point shot.
I was always wondering why former head coach Chot Reyes did not touch this guy, even just inviting him to the trainings, when Santos had been volunteering to be included in the lineup several times.
In fairness to Reyes, his hands were tied because of the one only per team policy and we all know Fajardo is the guy to get from San Miguel.
In Santos and Aguilar, Guiao now has to his disposal two of our lanky, quick and perimeter snipping guys who can slam the ball and crash the boards against the foreigners. We can certainly make it three if we are to consider Troy Rosario a permanent fixture at the 3 position.
Is our Kobe a bust?
This one kinda flew below the radar. Paras is sort of idle basketball-wise right now and should have all the time for Gilas.
Guiao said the cadets are our investments and, with due respect to Rivero and Sotto, Paras was one of our brighter bets not so long ago for the first full Filipino-blooded player to enter the NBA before he decided to get back on Philippine soil to continue his basketball career.
I’m not saying Guiao ignored Paras, for the selection of Rivero and Sotto could well be a coaches’ preference too.
I simply dislike the idea of giving up quickly on Paras until we can see what he can do against the big boys. The different American schools he attended seem to agree in unison that he is not the NBA type of player as he struggled to get playing time.
Well, we know how it works there for foreigners. Unless one really wows them, we should not expect American coaches to field our guy. I have no idea what kind of effort he made while he was there but how I wished Paras worked harder to hone and display his skills there.
Nevertheless, he is still young and needs more maturity. So we should not take the result of Paras’ stint there against him.
Paras is still a big potential in Philippine basketball. The stakeholders should continue giving him chances to prove his worth as it is still too early for this young man.
By: ARMANDO M. BOLISLIS
Banner photo by: fiba.basketball