MANILA, Philippines – Adapting to modern basketball, Philippine national team coach Chot Reyes put together a 12-man lineup that features versatility, balance, and depth.
"This team is built on its flexibility and versatility," Reyes said. "We know that in the international game, even the bigs can hit threes, so you have to be able to play defense and you have to be able to switch the ball screens and that’s the kind of lineup that we have. I like our ability to do what we were just doing (during the All-Star game)."
Included in the final 12 are multifaceted swingmen like rookies RR Pogoy and Matthew Wright as well as a more experienced albeit Gilas first-timer Allein Maliksi.
They are complemented by an aggressive forward in veteran Calvin Abueva on top of stretch fours Troy Rosario and Japeth Aguilar.
"I think it’s very balanced, it’s very versatile. It has size, and it’s a great combination of rookies and veterans, rookies to the Gilas system, to the PBA, and veterans as well," explained Reyes.
The Gilas 12, announced on Friday, April 28, in the middle of the 2017 PBA All-Star Week, is set to compete in the 2017 SEABA Championships here next month. The lineup may change again in the Southeast Asian Games and in the FIBA Asia Cup in August, should the Philippines qualify.
The national team will be facing 6 other members of the region determined to take down the perennial champions.
Only the champion squad – the country with the best record after the single round robin competition – will qualify for the FIBA Asia Cup in Lebanon this August, where teams can vie for spots in the FIBA Asia continental tilt later in the year.
Naturalized center Andray Blatche, whose range also extends to the 3-point line, is expected to arrive in Manila any day now from the US, where he took a period of rest following his Chinese Basketball Association stint.
Gilas Pilipinas' preparations for SEABA will go full swing this week with the competition set for May 12 to 18 at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
The final lineup first saw action together, sans Blatche, during the final leg of the All-Star Week in Cebu this past weekend, where they came back from a 15-point deficit to beat the Visayas All-Stars that had former Gilas players on it. – Rappler.com