TOKYO – National coach Chot Reyes said backups to Marcus Douthit and Ranidel de Ocampo are among the players they need to find if they're to contend for the FIBA Asia Championship next year.
Having measured their strength in the Jones Cup and in the FIBA Asia Cup, Reyes said it would serve the team well if the likes of Greg Slaughter, Junmar Fajardo, Kelly Williams, Marc Pingris and Arwind Santos come aboard.
"Spots need to improve? Glaring are backups to Marcus and Ranidel. Hopefully, we get a Slaughter or a Fajardo then Kelly, Arwind and Pingris. Their names are in the pool," said Reyes before boarding their PAL flight back to Manila Sunday.
"We also need to see Jason (Castro) playing. He needs to be tested. We've tried Jarred (Dillinger) playing the point and he proved capable of doing the job," Reyes also said.
Reyes said evaluation of the lineup is in order although he's convinced all the players that saw action in the Jones Cup and FIBA Asia Cup deserve to be in the pool.
"There's going to be an evaluation and whatever changes that are to be made will be made. But right now, it's too early to tell. The players that went to Taipei and Japan all deserve to be in the pool. If they're going to make the final 12, we don't know yet," said Reyes.
The articulate national mentor is happy with their experiences in their first two international tournaments, saying it provided them an idea "how much more we have to go and how longer we have go if we’re to contend next year."
"Before this whole thing started, if someone said we'll have one first and one fourth (finishes), we’ll be happy. There's some feeling of sadness now because we know we could have done better in Japan," said Reyes.
"But then again, we have to remember it's just the second tournament of the team. This team will still get better and stronger," Reyes added.
What Reyes asks is more time and more competition.
He's also hoping that they get a more definite commitment from the PBA with regards lending players to the national team.
PBA commissioner Chito Salud, however, has said that he'll help Reyes in this concern.
"Tell me the players that he need and I'll help get those players to be with the team," said Salud, who was among those who cheered for Smart Gilas in the Taipei and Japan jousts.
Reyes said two things he'll ask the PBA right away is the adoption of FIBA's rule on traveling violation and the FIBA-standard rim.
"The FIBA rim is a big thing. If we don't make outside shots against the big teams, we'll have a hard time winning," said Reyes whose team was deserted of their outside sniping playing the FIBA rim (thicker) in the Ota Gymnasium.
"We have to get used to that kind of rim and in shooting against much bigger opponent. It will only come by continuously playing it," Reyes added.