FIBA ASIA : 17 CANDIDATES FOR THE PHIL TEAM
By Eddie Alinea
Fri, 08 Feb 2013
MANILA (PNA) - “The goal is to make the top three, the dream is to win it all.”
With this in mind, national coach Chot Reyes yesterday submitted a 17-man pool of candidates to the PBA board of governors. It is from this list where the Philippine team that will carry the country’s colors when it hosts the 27th FIBA Asia men’s championships will come from.
Finishing with at least a bronze medal will enable the country to qualify to the FIBA World Cup next year, while winning the crown will end the Philippines’ 28-year title since a team coached by American Ron Jacobs and reinforced by three naturalized citizens last won in 1985.
Recommended to comprise the national pool were Jason Castro, Jimmy Alapag, Larry Fonacier, Ryan Reyes, Ranidel de Ocampo, Kelly Williams and Jarred Dillinger, all of newly-crowned Philippine Cup champion Talk ‘N Text; L.A. Tenorio of Barangay Ginebra, Mac Pingris of San Mig Coffe, Jun Mar Fajardo of San Miguel Beer, Gabe Norwood and Jeff Chan of All-Filipino runner up Rain or Shine; Sonny Thoss of Alaska Milk, Garry David and Japeth Aguilar of Batang Pier and Gilas Pilipinas 2 mainstays Marcus Douthit and Greg Slaughter.
The PBA board, in a meeting presided over by chair Robert Non of Ginebra San Miguel, approved in totality Reyes’ recommendation paving for what could be a long, seven-month preparations.
His recommendation, according to Reyes, was arrived at following numerous discussions and consultations with PBA commissioner Chito Salud.
Saying the team to be formed faces formidable oppositions with height and heft, especially from the Middle East countries, Reyes is looking to build a team that possesses a lot of speed and outside shooting.
Preparations will start Monday with July 25 as the target date to cut the candidates to the final 12. FIBA Asia rules set the deadline for the submission of the final roster July 1.
“Yes, training will start on Monday Feb. 11 as soon as the players become available,” Reyes told the Philippines News Agency in a separate interview after the PBA board meeting, adding that the completed line up will undergo a training stint in Palanga in Lithuania June 2-16 where the national are also scheduled to play exhibition matches with European teams, particularly from Russia, attending the camp.
“We’ll also be playing six top Lithuanian ball clubs and the boys will have the opportunity to work with the former Lithuanian national team coach for 12 days,” the national mentor said.
A one-week pocket tournament where several foreign teams will be invited, will be the next in the preparations agenda July 23-30.
The FIBA Asia squad has also been designated to defend the Jones Cup championship that Gilas Pilipinas won last year in Taipei, after which coach Reyes’ boys will tour the provinces and play against two PBA Selections from July 20-25.
The Nationals are also scheduled to play as the main attractions in the PBA All-Star weekend against another PBA All Stars.
“The pool that we have answers the needs that we identified earlier. We need to be very versatile to play up tempo and go down, if needs be, but we have to have a lot of speed, quickness and athleticism and a lot of outside shooting,” Reyes, who also piloted another national five to the 2007 edition of the tournament stressed. “ I think the line up bears that.”
Practices will be closed door, Reyes emphasized although adding that the media will be given time for interviews and briefings after each practice session.
“We’ll ask players to stick around after each workout. From time to time there’ll be media briefing,” he said. “I’ve learned long in my 20 years in the PBA that you don’t get anything from making announcements. If we do that, we’re getting ahead of ourselves.”
“We’re focusing on preparations and I think the best preparation is prepare as hard as we can,” Reyes said. “the goal is to make the top three, but the dream is to win it all.
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