3-on-3: Gilas Pilipinas roster questions

We answer boiling questions about the Gilas Pilipinas roster, three weeks to go before the FIBA Asia Championships.

SPEEDSTERS. Castro and Tenorio provide backcourt speed for the Philippines. Photo by PBA Images/Nuki Sabio

MANILA, Philippines — The final lineup of the Gilas Pilipinas squad competing in the 2013 FIBA Asia Championships was released on Thursday, July 11, with 12 names from the national pool emerging to represent the country in the continental meet.

In this inaugural edition of the Rappler 3-on-3, we answer questions on the team we hope will bring us to the FIBA World Cup next year. 

1. Who was the biggest snub?

Rodneil Quiteles: I still think Arwind Santos would’ve been a better option over Pingris. They are almost the same size, both are long defenders and good rebounders but Santos has the better shooting range. 
I think given the proper mindset and motivation, Santos could have also played the role of the team’s energizer.

But to be clear, I do not disapprove of Pingris’ inclusion on the lineup. His toughess, energy, and intensity should definitely give Gilas a boost.

Enzo Flojo: Though I agree with Neil about Arwind having a superior skill-set compared to Ping, I think the biggest snub is, quite literally, Greg Slaughter. I understand that his absence in Lithuania was big and his not being in New Zealand right now is also significant, but I feel it was a lost opportunity to expose a reasonably skilled 7-footer to the intricacies of the FIBA Asia game. The experience would have greatly benefited him and June Mar as our two best local centers moving forward.

Levi Verora: Late inclusion Beau Belga. Head coach Chot Reyes was quick to praise the wide-bodied Rain or Shine Elasto Painter after dropping him from the Final 12. Despite his disadvantage in height, Belga is similar to Jordan’s Islam Abbas, who gives up 3-5 inches but makes up for it with a massive frame. Belga can push away taller guys with his weight and is a solid defender at the post. And don’t let his wide-bodied figure fool you; he’s very quick and has a high basketball IQ.

2. What is this team’s main advantage coming into the tournament?

Quiteles: Speed and shooting. Those have always been the strengths of this Gilas team. The addition of Fajardo and Aguilar provides size upfront and slightly offsets our size disadvantage and should help a lot on the defensive end so we can get our running game going.

Flojo: Agree with the speed and shooting, but overall Marcus Douthit is still our main advantage. He can play C or slide down to PF alongside June Mar. He has a nice midrange game and is even better at the post. Just so versatile. And now that he has one FIBA Asia tourney under his belt (2011), I think the experience he will carry over is BIG, too.

Verora: Hosting the premiere Asian cage wars is the vital edge of the Gilas crew. This means having basketball-crazy Filipinos watching the games live and up on their feet from August 1-11. When we hosted the 2011 FIBA-Asia Champions’ Cup, former PH skipper Chris Tiu was impressed with the crowd support. So far, tickets are selling well and I hope we can utilize this “sixth man” edge to the fullest.

Aside from that, the RP 5 is drawing strength and spirit from the “puso” factor. Since the start of Gilas 2.0’s camp, players were reminded about the 40-year World Championship drought, something that
drives them even hungrier team come FIBA Asia. This is the ultimate chance to end the slump — in front of the plethora of Pinoy basketball fans.

SLOTMAN. Douthit is the unanimous pick to start at center. Photo by AFP/Liu Jin.

3. Who should be in the starting 5?

Quiteles: It has to be Douthit (C), De Ocampo (PF), Norwood (SF), David (SG) and Tenorio (PG). Douthit is the main gun down low. De Ocampo at the 4 can run and help spread the floor. Norwood at the 3 can make the occasional outside shot but he’s there for playmaking and defense. David at the 2-spot because he’s the most versatile scorer out of all the wing players. Tenorio at the point guard spot is a perfect mix of speed, shooting, and leadership skills.

Flojo: No doubt Douthit starts at the center slot while the power forward position will be assigned on a case-to-case basis. Against Saudi, I think Ranidel will start, but against taller teams like Jordan and Taiwan, Japeth will see starters’ minutes. Since he’s the only natural SF here, Gabe gets the spot. I think Jeff gets the nod, too, at shooting guard given his experience and performance from international competitions in 2012. For point guard, I wouldn’t be surprised if LA started and Jayson finished.

Verora: For the front court, Douthit, De Ocampo and Norwood are shoo-ins while I think Chot Reyes will pick Chan and Tenorio to man the backcourt. As the Jones Cup MVP in 2012, Tenorio showed leadership and composure in the clutch. Likewise, Chan was the starting two-guard in the Jones Cup and the FIBA Asia Cup and having David and Castro come off the bench will be big energy boosts. – Rappler.com

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