Former Gilas Pilipinas stalwart Jimmy Alapag was impressed by the latest crop of Pinoy players who shocked South Korea in the final window of the FIAB Asia Cup qualifiers.
But Alapag, one of the best ever to suit up for the national team, believes the young guns will still need some boost from PBA players contrary to what some quarters say.
“For me, you look at these first three games and it’s really, really impressive for this team. For me, this really is the next generation,” said Alapag, now based in the US, in Smart Sports' Hoops Life.
“But if you talk about playing against the world-class teams, your Serbias, your Croatias, and your Argentinas, me, personally, I do think you’ll need some professional guys there.”
He said it will be up to Gilas coach Tab Baldwin to select the PBA players he'll need to help in mentoring the young guys in the world stage.
“This will be up to Coach Tab and his staff, whether it’s half the team or four or five guys, whatever the case might be, I do think you’ll need some veteran guys who have been there before,” said Alapag.
Alapag admitted that it will be tough since the nationals will still have to go through a lot of competitions heading into the World Cup.
Apart from the Olympic Qualifying Tournament in Belgrade, Serbia, Gilas will also have to compete in the Asia Cup, the World Cup qualifiers, the Southeast Asian Games and the Asian Games.
“Of course, there are also challenges with the PBA schedule and so forth but I do think in preparation for the World Cup two years for now, from now until then, you’ll need to find a way to include some of the pro guys.”
"Just imagine if this team could have the ability to talk to a Gabe Norwood or an LA Tenorio or a Jayson Castro and say 'Hey, you guys have played in two World Cups. What are we getting into?'"