MANILA, Philippines – Members of Gilas Pilipinas training pool welcome the prospect of having JaVale McGee and Andray Blatche in their team, citing that the two NBA players will bring them added ceiling in time for the FIBA World Cup of Basketball.
Gilas Pilipinas coach Chot Reyes has already sought the naturalization of McGee and Blatche, through the help of Antipolo City Rep. Robbie Puno.
“Mas maganda ‘yun na kung merong maa-add na player ng NBA,” said Talk ‘N Text and Gilas player Ranidel de Ocampo.
“Makakatulong ‘yun sigurado, kasi yung mga naglalaro sa FIBA World ‘yung ibang player dun naglalaro rin sa NBA.”
For his part, Alaska’s JVee Casio said having McGee and Blatche in their lineup will give Reyes more options in the court.
Of course, there’s also the matter of adding big men into the national team roster.
McGee, who plays for the Denver Nuggets, stands 7 feet tall. Blatche of the Brooklyn Nets is 6’11”.
“Malaking tulong, we're lacking height so it's definitely helpful. At kung marami kami, mas maraming options,” said the Alaska point guard.
The team so far has Marcus Douthit, who became a naturalized Filipino citizen in 2010.
Meanwhile, Casio also lauded PBA decision to shorten the season to give way to their training.
The league will be concluding the current season in July instead of August to give way to Gilas Pilipinas’ preparations for the FIBA World Cup and the Asian Games.
The FIBA World Cup is scheduled to take place on August 30 to September 14.
“Oo kailangan naming ng extra time especially now that FIBA World ang lalaruin namin, so kailangang kailangan namin ‘yun,” said Casio.
“Ibinigay naman ng PBA as much as they can and inaccept naman ni Coach [Chot] from what I've heard. so makakapagplan na si coach for the gilas team for preparations,” he added.
De Ocampo agreed. He said the additional training time will be a great help in their preparations.
“Kahit papaano magkakaroon ng kumpyansa at lalaban tayo ng mabuti,” he said.