TNT's Pogoy says McCullough a good fit for Gilas Pilipinas

Camille B. Naredo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jul 01 2020 11:43 AM

MANILA, Philippines -- They may have had some testy encounters during the 2019 PBA Commissioner's Cup, but TNT guard Roger Pogoy is still a fan of San Miguel import Chris McCullough and believes he can help the Philippine national team.

McCullough helped the Beermen defeat the KaTropa in six games in the finals, overcoming a powerful TNT team anchored by former NBA player Terrence Jones. Throughout the series, he and Pogoy had their moments, including an encounter in Game 1 that went viral when Pogoy stole the ball off McCullough and reacted by sticking his tongue out at the import.

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Even then, Pogoy maintained that he has a high opinion of McCullough, acknowledging how difficult it was to defend the wiry, 6-foot-9 import. When asked about McCullough's well-known desire to play for Gilas Pilipinas, Pogoy expressed his full support.

"Sa tingin ko, oo. Malaki rin 'yung matutulong niya, kasi 'yun nga, parang fit siya sa laro ng mga Pinoy," Pogoy said during a conversation with Magoo Marjon and Carlo Pamintuan on the "2OT" podcast.

"Malaki... na may laro sa labas, sa loob," Pogoy added. "Tapos, puwede siya sa depensa na pang shot-blocker. Kasi 'yan ang kailangan sa Gilas eh, 'yung mga shot-blocker saka rebounder na offensive player."

"So parang 'yung all-around talaga ang kailangan kapag mag-naturalize tayo, so feel ko, puwedeng-puwede siya pang-Gilas," he said.

McCullough, a first round pick by the Brooklyn Nets in the 2015 NBA Draft, has made it known that he wants to play for the Philippines as a naturalized player, and the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas has confirmed that he was part of their plans, along with players like Ginebra import Justin Brownlee and Ateneo de Manila University center Ange Kouame.

His teammates in San Miguel Beer are also supportive of McCullough, with veteran forward Arwind Santos saying that he is a good candidate because of his versatility and athleticism.

However, Santos also noted that McCullough may have trouble defending some of the bigger centers in international play. While Pogoy has the same concerns, he still believes that McCullough can be a good fit alongside other Filipino big men.

"Mayroon naman tayong June Mar (Fajardo)," he said. "So puwede naman siguro."

(For more sports coverage, visit the ABS-CBN Sports website).