Gilas needs longer buildup for Fiba Asia

By Nelson Beltran, The Philippine Star

Posted at Jan 30 2013 10:15 AM | Updated as of Jan 30 2013 06:15 PM

MANILA, Philippines - Coach Chot Reyes said Gilas Pilipinas would need an intensive preparation to reach competitive level that would match the continent's best and give them a good shot at playing in the global meet.

Reyes appealed to the pro league that they be given the longest possible period of time to train for a serious crack at the 2013 FIBA Asia Championship set at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay on Aug. 1-11.

Fresh from his Hong Kong trip where he steered the Gilas cadet team to a championship in an invitational tourney, Reyes sat down in an initial meeting with PBA commissioner Chito Salud yesterday afternoon.

They discussed ways to get maximum time to brace for expected tough competition against Asian traditional title contenders China and Korea, new powers Iran, Jordan, Lebanon and Qatar and other contenders like Japan and Chinese Taipei.

"Big thing is the third conference adjustment. But we're still working on the time that would be available for us (to train). Naming of the lineup is going to be dependent on the final schedule," said Reyes.

The national mentor, however, has an idea on what kind of team he's forming.

"Magbubuo tayo ng team, di tayo magbubuo ng collection of superstars (We'll form a team. We'll not put together a collection of superstars)," said Reyes.

"We'll never have size advantage so we'll have a team that has speed and outside shooting. It must be versatile. It must be a team with role players," Reyes added.

He said players who played for Gilas in the last Jones Cup and FIBA Asia Cup and even the young cadet players who donned the national colors in the Dubai and Hong Kong invitationals will be considered for the team to the FIBA Asia Championship.

"They're under consideration. They’ll be part of the pool where we get the final lineup," said Reyes.

Greg Slaughter, the country's lone seven-foot player, could well be the cadet player with the best chance of making the team. For a long time, he was part of the previous Gilas team under Serbian coach Rajko Toroman. Slaughter and Petron rookie center Junmar Fajardo are likely to fight it out for the role as Marcus Douthit’s backup.

Reyes said they’re also in the lookout for a naturalized player backup.

Considerations in this regard are naturalization papers and the salary.

"It's hard to pay him just to be a backup. Unlike in Lebanon, they already have four naturalized players to choose from. At yung naturalized nila hindi malalakas, super lakas," said Reyes.

Reyes also mentioned the advantage of their rivals in preparation period, but nonetheless expressed gratitude to the PBA for its backing.

"We're very thankful for their all-out support in this program in trying to achieve the goal in qualifying for the world championships. We're very appreciative," he said.

"What is clear from the PBA standpoint is we are here to fully support the cause of Gilas Pilipinas and as a proof of that we will come out with a third conference schedule that will certainly strengthen the chances of our national team," said Salud.

"We are bending over backwards. We are meeting with the national team coach to see to it that his needs are met appropriately and from that standpoint we also want to be able to help the SBP and the MVP Group in successfully hosting this FIBA Asia," Salud added.