Gilas Diaries: And then there were 12

Enzo Flojo
Enzo Flojo offers his analysis of the final 12 players picked for the FIBA Asia Championships.

MANILA, Philippines — Remember these names.

Marcus Douthit.
Japeth Aguilar.
Gabe Norwood.
Jeff Chan.
Jayson Castro.
June Mar Fajardo.
Ranidel De Ocampo.
Larry Fonacier.
Gary David.
LA Tenorio.
Marc Pingris.
Jimmy Alapag.

These are the guys who will don our colors, bear our cause, and bleed for national pride.

We will rise (or fall) with them. For better or for worse, this is OUR National Team.

Strengths:

Size up front – With Douthit, Aguilar, and Fajardo, this Gilas roster is one of the biggest ever. They could’ve gone even bigger had they included Greg Slaughter, but speed would have suffered too.

Versatility – Ranidel and Japeth are good examples of stretch forwards — big guys who can play in the paint and on the wings. Gabe can play all positions save for C. Coach Chot has a lot of options when shuffling his men.

Speed – Everyone runs. Boom.

Shooting – On a good day, most of these guys can hit from long range.

Weaknesses:

Inexperience – Only five (5) guys have prior FIBA Asia Men’s Championship experience — Douthit, Aguilar, Norwood, De Ocampo, and Alapag.

Size on the wings – De Ocampo and Norwood are the only ones who can really compare with the “international standards of size” for wingmen. Even guys like David, Chan, and Fonacier will get dwarfed.

Physicality – Or the lack of it. I think maybe only Ranidel and Ping are the bona fide enforcers here. Perhaps one or two more could’ve helped our team’s “intimidation factor?” (read: Beau Belga & Sonny Thoss)

Potential Position Battles: How does our roster stack up with the best of Asia?

Gilas Big Men: Douthit, Aguilar, Fajardo, De Ocampo, and Pingris

VERSUS

FIBA Asia Big Men: Hamed Haddadi (IRI), Loren Woods (LIB), Anton Ponomarev (KAZ), Yi Jianlian (CHN), Quincy Davis (TPE), Kosuke Takeuchi (JPN), Kim Joo-Sung (KOR)

Despite this being one of the biggest frontlines in Philippine NT history, it will be a common sight to see other teams with even bigger frontcourts. I love our athleticism, though. Japeth, on a good day, can be a match-up nightmare and, well, Douthit can still pop even at the tender age of 33. The biggest potential headaches, definitely, are Haddadi and Yi.

Gilas Wingmen: Norwood, Chan, Fonacier, and David

VERSUS

FIBA Asia Wingmen: Samad Nikkhah Bahrami (IRI), Fadi El Khatib (LIB), Jimmy Baxter (JOR), Erfan Ali Saeed (QAT), Wang Shipeng (CHN), Lin Chih-Chieh (TPE), Kosuke Kanamaru (JPN), Cho Sung-Min (KOR)

We have good shooters, but the best of FIBA Asia’s wings are, honestly, even sharper. Bahrami, Fadi, and Baxter are all bigger than our boys, while Lin, Wang, Kanamaru, and Cho are some of the most consistent shooters in FIBA Asia history.

Gilas Playmakers: Jayson Castro, LA Tenorio, and Jimmy Alapag

VERSUS

FIBA Asia Playmakers: Mahdi Kamrani (IRI), Wesam Al Sous (JOR), Ali Mahmoud (LIB), Mansour El Hadary (QAT), Jerry Johnson (KAZ), Yang Dong-Geun (KOR), Ryota Sakurai (JPN)

Our boys are fast enough to leave anybody in Asia in the dust, but Alapag is the only guy with experience at this level of play (and he’s the third-stringer). Everyone has seen LA strut his stuff, which means Castro is the wildcard. How well he plays might be the ultimate barometer of how far Gilas goes.

Prognosis:

In my imagination, this is pretty much the Gilas roster I believe can really compete for a slot in the 2014 FIBA World Cup. I would have picked Slaughter, though, since, well, he’s a skilled seven-footer who might have benefited greatly from the experience. Still choosing Jimmy over Greg, Beau, and the rest is a nice pick that prioritizes experience and leadership. It’s clear that the coaches aren’t really building for future FIBA Asia tourneys, but, rather, are building a team to win RIGHT NOW.

And I think they will.

Go Pilipinas! Laban Pilipinas!

#parasabayan

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