Douthit, PBA mainstays lead team to tough invit'l tourney
MANILA, Philippines - Naturalized player Marcus Douthit, three PBA players and eight Smart Gilas cadet members make up the Philippine team competing in the tough Dubai International Invitational Championship next month.
Possible additions are PBA free agent Japeth Aguilar and Fil-Am player Isaac Holstein.
Already named with Douthit to the team are Meralco Bolts JayR Reyes and Ronjay Buenafe, Air21 Express KG Canaleta, new Fil-Am recruit Justin Melton and Gilas cadet players Matt Ganuelas, Garvo Lanete, Greg Slaughter, RR Garcia, Kevin Alas, Ronald Pascual and Jake Pascual.
"Gary D & LA are injured. Kiefer has classes. Sol is ineligible, & for d nth time hindi pinayagan ang Petron players. So wag nyo na hanapin pls," said national coach Chot Reyes on his Twitter account.
The PBA allowed Reyes to invite players from the six eliminated teams in the ongoing PBA Philippine Cup. But Jones Cup heroes Gary David and LA Tenorio are injured, Fil-Am guard Sol Mercado is ineligible while Petron Blaze players apparently opted to concentrate on their preparation for the next PBA tourney.
Reyes, Buenafe and Canaleta agreed to give up Christmas vacation to help the national team.
Reyes is back with Smart Gilas following earlier stints with the team in the last Jones Cup and FIBA Asia Cup. Canaleta is also making a return to the PH team after wearing the national colors in the 2007 SEABA Championship under the same coach. Buenafe will don the national jersey for the first time, taking over the role of David, Jeff Chan and Larry Fonacier in the Jones and FIBA Asia Cups.
Ateneo's Kiefer Ravena is also part of the cadet pool but, due to his classes, is not tapped for the Dubai meet.
Another Ateneo player Nico Salva and San Sebastian College stalwart Ian Sangalang begged off to be part of the pool as they already intend join the next PBA rookie draft.
The Dubai Invitationals is a tough tourney regularly participated in by the Iran, Lebanon, Syria and Jordan national teams.
Smart Gilas competes in Dubai then in another invitational tourney in Hong Kong as part of its buildup for the 2013 FIBA Asia Championship which serves as the regional qualifier for the 2014 FIBA World Cup.