MANILA, Philippines - Smart Gilas remnants Marcus Douthit and Chris Tiu, former pro Borgie Hermida and eight pro-bound commercial players have been named in a “select pool” that will represent the country in the 2012 SEABA men’s championship set July 3-7 in Thailand.
Fil-foreign players Cliff Hodge and Chris Ellis are joining the group that also includes fellow SEA Games veterans Garvo Lanete, Eman Monfort and Dave Marcelo and former collegiate stars Aldrech Ramos, Woody Co and Vic Manuel.
They had their initial meeting Monday night, joining Smart Gilas (pro selection) in practice at the Philsports Arena in Pasig.
“This is not the cadet pool we’re forming. This is a select group available to play for SEABA,” said national coach Chot Reyes. “This is the group playing in SEABA since the PBA, the UAAP and the NCAA (players) are not available.”
Reyes is still looking for other available players since they have yet to complete a 12-man roster.
“We also have to check the status of Cliff Hodge and Chris Ellis. They may face the same problem encountered by Marcio Lassiter and Chris Lutz (in the last Fiba Asia championship in Wuhan, China),” said Reyes.
But even minus the likes of Greg Slaughter, Bobby Ray Parks and Kiefer Ravena, Reyes feels they have formed a team capable of topping the tourney serving as the qualifier for the FIBA Stankovic Cup in Japan in September.
The Stankovic Cup and the Jones Cup are two tournaments in the calendar of Smart Gilas this year.
“We’ve got good players on all positions. It looks like a solid team,” said Reyes.
“The enthusiasm and energy were there in our first practice. We’re confident we’ll do pretty well,” Reyes added.
Reyes hinted Douthit and Tiu, the two remaining players from the original Smart Gilas team, will play key roles in their SEABA campaign.
“We don’t have enough time to form the cadet pool but that’s the reality in Philippine basketball,” said Reyes.
“It’s supposed to be formed by the country’s best collegiate players. Pero ang hirap buoin, ang dami mong kakausapin. (It’s hard to form. You have to talk to the players and the schools),” Reyes added.