3-on-3: Questions on Gilas Pilipinas' latest pool
MANILA, Philippines – Gilas Pilipinas head coach Chot Reyes has named the 17-man pool that will train for the FIBA World Cup in Spain.
The 12-man team that made history in August 2013: Jimmy Alapag, Jayson Castro, LA Tenorio, Gary David, Larry Fonacier, Jeff Chan, Gabe Norwood, Marc Pingris, Ranidel de Ocampo, Japeth Aguilar, June Mar Fajardo, and Marcus Douthit are all part of the list. FIBA Asia reserve Beau Belga is also listed.
The additional players are Rain or Shine's Paul Lee, who had a sensational PBA Philippine Cup finals stint, No. 1 PBA 2014 overall pick Greg Slaughter of Brgy. Ginebra San Miguel, Smart Gilas I gunner Marcio Lassiter of the San Miguel Beermen, and Jared Dillinger of the Meralco Bolts.
Our 3-on-3 panel talks about the selections, their picks on who should make the final 12 roster and who they think were the biggest snubs in the pool.
First thoughts on the additions
Enzo Flojo: The additions to the pool (Lee, Lassiter, Dillinger, and Slaughter) are all good picks. I think the talent level just got deeper and the size at every position got bigger too. With the exception of Lee, these additions have international experience, too, which always helps.
Lee should work well in the dribble-drive as the freelancer who can throw a curve ball at the defense on a pinch, while guys like Lassiter and Dillinger both have great size at the wings and offer a great balance of shooting and defense. Slaughter is a no-brainer pick given his size and how well he's played so far. He should get some great experience training with Gilas' frontline and, if chosen, playing against the world's best bigs.
Levi Verora: Coach Chot Reyes' choices are definitely solid. Three of the four guys have already represented the country in the past. Jared Dillinger is part of Yeng Guiao's 2009 Powerade Team Pilipinas and has been included in Reyes' Gilas II program. He played for the 2012 FIBA Asia Cup roster, but a rib injury forced him out of the picture. Now that he's back, I'm sure he can give the squad superb defense and break down his opponents' defense with his quickness, given he's a creator. Marcio Lassiter is part of Smart Gilas I, is a hard-nosed defender and an outside sniper. Although, my concern is if he is eligible to play for FIBA-sanctioned tournaments. Greg Slaughter has been in the national squad since 2008. While his size is his main asset, his continuous improvement should only be a plus for the national squad. Paul Lee meanwhile, is coming off a phenomenal PBA finals stint and was actually eyed by Smart Gilas I coach Rajko Toroman.
Jane Bracher: I think Jared Dillinger, Marcio Lassiter, Paul Lee and Greg Slaughter are fantastic additions. For one, all of them have added height for their respective positions. Dillinger is one of the players I personally thought would have been great for last year's FIBA Asia lineup. Now, he's getting his chance. Lassiter and Slaughter also have international experience they can offer. Lassiter can be relied on to explode and take over, too. Slaughter, on the other hand, will have grown up a little bit more after one full PBA conference in his arsenal.
With Lee, I feel that defense might be a weak point for him. For Gilas to succeed in winning a couple of games, I think we must be quick not only on the offensive end but also on defense. Feisty defense will be key. On the other hand, Lee obviously can also be explosive on offense, especially with his long bombs.
Your final 12?
Out of this expanded pool, my new Gilas 12 would be: June Mar Fajardo, Japeth Aguilar, Marc Pingris, Ranidel De Ocampo, Gabe Norwood, Jeff Chan, Jared Dillinger, Marcio Lassiter, Jayson Castro, LA Tenorio, Jimmy Alapag
And my first choice naturalized player would be Andray Blatche.
This shall be an even more difficult decision for Reyes, but if I were to choose, here's my roster:
Bigs: Marcus Douthit (or Blatche if he makes it in time), June Mar Fajardo, Japeth Aguilar, Marc Pingris, Ranidel De Ocampo
Wings: Jared Dillinger, Larry Fonacier, Gabe Norwood, Jeff Chan
Backcourt: Jimmy Alapag, Jayson Castro, LA Tenorio
I made no changes when it comes to the frontliners; much-improved games by Fajardo and Aguilar will shine in FIBA, while the way Pingris and De Ocampo thrive in Reyes' system make them shoo-ins for me. Fonacier and Chan will be Reyes' primary outside gunners, with Norwood and Dillinger being the defensive stoppers who can create shots for themselves and their teammates.
I won't tweak the backcourt anymore. Although Alapag and Tenorio will be shorthanded size-wise, their experience and nitty-gritty when it comes to leading this squad is very vital. Unless, of course, Mark Barroca gets considered.
In the matter of out naturalized player, I would prefer Andray Blatche. Though I wouldn't mind Marcus Douthit giving us a lift once again.
For the rest: June Mar Fajardo, Ranidel de Ocampo, Marc Pingris, Japeth Aguilar, Jared Dillinger, Gabe Norwood, Jeff Chan, Larry Fonacier, Jimmy Alapag, LA Tenorio, Jayson Castro
Who do you think are the biggest snubs?
I'm not sure if snub is the right word. Knowing the Gilas coaches, I'm sure these guys were considered, if not outright invited: Mark Barroca, Sonny Thoss, and KG Canaleta.
Barroca has been playing at a really high level and has experience in international hoops. He would have been a great addition.
Likewise, I feel like Thoss would have been a great pick, too. His size, mobility, and experience make him a versatile frontliner for Gilas.
Canaleta is the prototype forward who can excel in the international game - a big guy who has handles and can shoot the lights out from long range. I'm still crossing my fingers hoping these guys get the nod.
The three names that came out of my mind once Reyes announced his 17-man pool were: Sonny Thoss, Jay Washington, and Mark Barroca.
Thoss can slide to the four spot and be a solid post defender if our opponents will parade bruiser-type power forwards. Remember how he contained Vernon Macklin and Denzel Bowles during the 2012 Commissioner's Cup? He's got an array of post moves too, and a decent touch from midrange. Enzo, however, wishes Thoss could be two inches taller.
Newly-crowned PBA Finals MVP Mark Barroca may be the best two-way point guard in the Philippines. He can score in many ways, and can also defend his backcourt counterparts. Washington is the last because of his ability to play the frontcourt positions. However, although he creates a lot of problems for his defenders in the PBA, my concern is if he can do the same in international competition.
It's hard to nail down the biggest snubs for the Nationals because of two reasons. One: There are so many talented basketball players that can represent the country. To say we snubbed some players may mean snubbing an entire potential Gilas Pilipinas Team B. And two: I'm pretty sure coach Chot Reyes has weighed all options, studied this thoroughly before making a decision, and also had the most difficulty in choosing.
But for the sake of healthy and meaningful argument, I will say that I think Sonny Thoss may have been a good addition to Gilas. Experience, height and just his unparalleled grasp of playing the post will help the team a whole lot. Apart from defense and speed, we also have to outsmart our opponents at the World Cup. I think "The Boss" has tremendous IQ when it comes to playing in the paint.
Lastly, Mark Barroca. "The Coffee King" may be too small for the international stage, but he makes up for it with his energy and feistiness. As coach Tim Cone pointed out, Barroca is one of the few players who greatly affects both sides of the ball - offense and defense. And the difference he makes is almost always a game-changer. Barroca's effect on the floor is like that of Pingris.
We are sure you have you're on picks too. Let us know your thoughts on the comments below! – Rappler.com