Amateurs, pros to form 2 teams of Smart Gilas II

By Joey Villar, The Philippine Star

Posted at Mar 07 2012 11:42 AM | Updated as of Mar 08 2012 12:06 AM

MANILA, Philippines - Smart Gilas Pilipinas II will form two teams, one composed of the country’s best amateur cagers and the other a pool of professional players, as part of its preparation for several tournaments this year leading to the 2013 FIBA-Asia Championship and hopefully, the 2014 World Championship in Spain.

Butch Antonio, Gilas II's operations chief, yesterday said the "cadet" or amateur team will comprise of former Gilas I standouts Chris Tiu, seven-footer Greg Slaughter and Aldrech Ramos, members of the 2011 SEA Games gold medalist Sinag Pilipinas and some collegiate stars.

The pool of pros, on the other hand, will come from the list approved by the PBA plus naturalized Marcus Douthit, who normed 25 points and 18 rebounds in Team Philippines' fourth place finish in the FIBA-Asia Championship in Wuhan, China last year.

"The cadet group of Gilas program is made up of college and other non-PBA players while the pros are, of course, those playing in the PBA," said Antonio.

He, however, clarified that there will be no distinction between the two pools since they will just gather the best of the best unlike in the Gilas I program where it has limited number of players to select from.

"This will be a pool of players, nothing defined on who will go to what tournament," said Antonio. "The important thing is who will be available during the time when the different tournaments are played.

"Regardless of whether players are cadets or pros, the program will ensure that whatever the mix will be, we will be sending a well prepared team," he added.

Events being eyed by Gilas II are the Southeast Asian Basketball Association Championship slated April 1-3 in Thailand, the FIBA-Asia Champions Cup set from June 2-10 in Beirut, Lebanon, the Jones Cup from Aug. 16-24 in Chinese Taipei, the Stankovic Cup in Tokyo, Japan in September and the 2013 FIBA-Asia Championship, where the top three finishers will represent the region in the 2014 FIBA World Championship in Spain.

Outgoing Talk N' Text mentor Chot Reyes will get another tour of duty as national team coach as he takes over from Serbian mentor Rajko Toroman.

Meralco coach Ryan Gregorio and TNT consultant Norman Black, who will take over the Tropang Texters when Reyes goes to Gilas II, are the other members of the coaching staff with the team also eyeing B-Meg mentor Tim Cone.