A MIXTURE of familiar faces and fresh talents make up the 16-man Philippine national pool chosen for a chance of being among the world’s best in Spain two years from now.
Heading the batch of new faces named by national coach Chot Reyes to the pool are Philippine Cup
Best Player Gary David, Jayson Castro, Larry Fonacier, LA Tenorio, Alex Cabagnot, Enrico Villanueva, Ryan Reyes and Marc Pingris.
They join old reliables Jimmy Alapag, Arwind Santos, Marcio Lassiter, James Yap, Gabe Norwood,
Ranidel de Ocampo, Kelly Williams and Sonny Thoss, all of whom have seen action in past FIBA-Asia jousts.
To address the need for more ceiling and a top-caliber player to man the middle, Reyes said
there’s a possibility JaVale McGee of the NBA’s Denver Nuggets will suit up for the Philippine
McGee has given his go-signal to be a naturalized Filipino citizen and the process for that to
happen has already begun.
But in case the process is not finished in time, Marcus Douthit will continue to be the Nationals’ big guy in the lane.
The PBA Board of Governors gave its approval of the line-up during a meeting
Tuesday at the PBA Office in Libis. Reyes was in attendance at the gathering to make the
“The only condition is that they don’t pull out the players in any conference of the PBA so as
not to deprive the fans of their presence,” said PBA commissioner Chito Salud.
The good PBA chieftain said the Board even gave the national coach leeway of adding four more PBA players in his pool.
“It’s a pleasant surprise,” said Reyes.
“I’m very happy for the PBA Board’s generosity and willingness to help the national team. This
is a big opportunity for us,” Reyes also said.
“The board gave us leeway even if is not necessary. We have to go back and talk about it,” Reyes
This is the second time that Reyes will call the shots for a PBA-backed national team. In 2005, he started a two-year campaign to qualify for the Beijing Olympic Games, but failed to qualify when the Nationals finished ninth in the FIBA-Asia Championships in Tokushima, Japan.
Now, Reyes is just glad to have been given the opportunity once more.
Next up for Reyes is to communicate with the players he chose for commitment purposes. Reyes said that each of the 16 players will be given commitment papers to be signed.
“We’re going to talk to these players individually and ask them to sign a commitment letter,”
Reyes said. “Essentially the commitment letter says that they are going to give up their vacation and off-season for the next two years until the FIBA-Asia,” Reyes said. “They have to commit to attend practices and make themselves available for all the functions of the team for as long as not it’s not in conflict with their games in the PBA.”
“Part of the commitment is that they must realize that as part of the pool, they may not be
included in the final lineup.”
In the meantime, the national team will prepare for two international events this year – the Jones Cup in Taipei this August and the Stankovic Cup in Japan in September.
“I fully intend to use these tournaments as a big part of the selection process for the final
line-up of the team,” Reyes said.
Training has been set to start on April 16, devoting Mondays from thereon to the national team. By season’s end, Reyes hopes the national team could go through tune-ups with a complete line-up
The right to host the 2013 FIBA-Asia Championships has yet to be given but the Philippines, through the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas, has already informed FIBA-Asia officials of the country’s intent to host.
Reyes stressed he’s bringing the best team to the 2013 Asian joust “regardless whether it’s an
all-pro team, 11 pros and one amateur or 10 and two.”
He pointed out that a separate 16-man amateur cadets’ pool will also be created.
By late January to early February next year, Reyes and the national pool will travel to Spain. By that time, the final lineup would have been decided.
“We want the players to see and feel and experience how it feels like to play there,” Reyes