Our national team, Smart-Gilas Pilipinas will once again see action next month in tha e Dubai International Tournament. While the rumor mill is churning to the tune of a more Sinag-like team made up of the Gilas Cadet Squad taking the floor for the Philippines, the PBA has pledged to continue to lend players to the national cause. That is of course, unless the desired players are Semis-bound.
That being said, assuming a mostly-pro roster is still to be fielded, here’s what we here at SLAM PH feels would be a good roster. We have officially sent this formal suggestion to the Gilas office. And since Coach Chot Reyes is the champion coach and basketball genius that he is, he would most probably be best off not even opening the envelope. But still, allow us to indulge ourselves. Here’s who we think should make the cut:
SLAM PH’s SMART – GILAS PILIPINAS 12-Man Roster
PG – LA Tenorio, Mike Cortez
SG – Gary David, Mark Cagouia, Sol Mercado
SF – Chris Lutz, Marcio Lassiter, Matt Ganuelas/Rosser
PF – Arwind Santos, Cliff Hodge
C – June Mar Fajardo, Marcus Douthit
Ranidel De Ocampo, Gabe Norwood, Jayson Castro, Jeff Chan, Larry Fonacier, James Yap, Ryan Reyes, Jared Dillinger, Calvin Abueva, Sonny Thoss, Cyrus Baguio, Jvee Casio, Jimmy Alapag, Paul Lee, even Beau Belga. All these guys should absolutely be wearing the national colors. Or at least be considered to be on the Gilas lineup. But unfortunately, they’re so good that they’ve (as expected), brought their teams to the PBA Philippine Cup Semifinals.
That leaves players from the remaining six PBA teams to come over and join Coach Chot Reyes as Gilas goes for Gold.
Let’s start at the Center position. As basic as it may seem, let’s bring over the only two near-seven-footers we have in all our 7,000 islands not named Greg. Fajardo has been a revelation so far this season and will prove to be an able defender and rebounder, not to mention an occasional low post option for the squad. It also wouldn’t hurt if the dribble-drive offense ends up in a drop pass to a seven-footer. As far as Marcus? Big Daddy has brought us to the promised land before. And when it comes to all things Gilas? Daddy Knows.
The forwards are going to be a hardworking, gritty, defensive, athletic bunch of exciting pogo sticks. Arwind will be the stretch four/occasional five. Hodge will bleed and die for a loose ball even if it’s early in the second quarter. Marcio and Lutz can hit that 3, play tough D, handle the ball, penetrate, dish and finish. Plus Gilas colors look good on them, we know that already. And Ganuelas/Rosser? He’s the future. Coach Chot loves him. It’s easy to see why.
Cagouia, Gary and Sol? It doesn’t get any more explosive than these guys. Sol’s the toughest guy to match up against in international play. Cagouia is all heart. And Gary can score 40 points in about 13 seconds. Kinilig ako just thinking about them in Coach Chot’s free-wheeling offense.
To lead the troops? LA Tenorio, proven national hero in the Jones Cup, and the revitalized Cool Cat. They give you outside shooting, smart decision-making and the willingness to spot the open man.
Is it the perfect team? Nope. Is it a realistic team? Depends on their home PBA franchises. But if these are the twelve guys we send to represent flag and country? I think we’ll be okay.
Sige lang sige, walang imposible. Mabuhay, Gilas!
Photo c/o sports.inquirer.net