Good Enough for Gilas: KG Cañaleta

2014 is going to be a BIG year for Philippine basketball. This year will mark the first time two of our Philippine National Teams (Men’s and U17) will march onto the world stage and compete at the highest level of international hoops. Our very own Gilas Pilipinas squad will go to Spain and play in the 2014 FIBA World Cup, while the Philippine U17 Team, coached by Jamike Jarin, will troop over to Dubai for the 2014 FIBA U17 World Championships. 

It’s been reported that the Gilas Pilipinas brain trust is keen on tapping more players to join the pool, with the magic number pegged at 24. That means that there are still around eleven slots open. Take note that this does not YET include the two naturalized prospects of the team — Javale McGee of the Denver Nuggets and Andray Blatche of the Brooklyn Nets. We’re still not sure if their respective naturalization processes will finish in time for Gilas to include their names in the final 24-man pool.

This is the fifth piece in a series of posts detailing the players who can be part of that pool. For each named individual, we will look at the good things he can bring to the pool, his probable role should he get named to the final Gilas lineup, and the possible match-ups he will have at the Asian and world levels.

Today, we’ll talk about one of someone who was called up by coach Chot Reyes to reinforce the Gilas cadets in early 2013. Together with a few other PBAers, this guy helped Gilas win the 2013 Super Kung Sheung Cup. He is KG Cañaleta.

Can KG Cañaleta take his streaky shooting to
the international stage?
(image by Paul Ryan Tan/Sports 5)

What he brings to the table:
The knock on KG Cañaleta is that he doesn’t do much but score, and we have to be realistic if we get him for Gilas. His role, if ever, is brainlessly simple — get to his spots and find the bottom of the net. He’s not there to play airtight defense or to rebound like the Tazmanian Devil. He’s there to string three triples together, to make opposing teams’ defenses honest, and to make opposing coaches sweat their armpits every time he lets one fly.

So, KG will primarily be a role-player? Like the Sunday Salvacion or Rhoel Gomez of the national team? Bingo. Is that a bad thing? heck no. Hitting a couple of key triples while wearing the colors of the Philippine flag? I can name a ton of guys who would give up their limbs for that opportunity. 

Think of it this way — Cañaleta will basically play the same role Lu Cheng-Ju does for Chinese-Taipei. Don’t remember Lu? You should. He was the guy who torched the Philippines with 6 triples in the preliminary group stage of the 2013 FIBA Asia Men’s Championships here in Manila. Lu doesn’t do much else for the Taiwanese except stroke from deep, but nobody is as streaky as he is. Same goes for KG. 

Why he is a good fit for Gilas: 
Cañaleta’s superb performance in the 2013 Super Kung Sheung Cup made me realize that he can be a great fit for Gilas’s system. Coach Chot wa sable to find a way to maximize Cañaleta’s strengths and enable him to exploit some match-ups at the wings. Because of his size, Cañaleta can match-up better with international small forwards as opposed to, say, Larry Fonacier, who was Gabe Norwood’s primary back-up last year. 

Potential match-ups:
FIBA-Asia: Lu Cheng-Ju (TPE), Dimo Klimov (KAZ), Yoon Ho-Young (KOR)
FIBA World Cup: Leonel Paulo (ANG), Yousef Abou Shousha (EGY), Martynas Pocius (LTU)

KG Cañaleta could be a valuable role-player for the national squad.
(image by Paolo Papa/Sports 5)

Cañaleta is definitely not the first choice when it comes to starting forwards, but, again, he can be a lethal contributor on a per-situation basis. If Gilas is down by like 6-10 points and coach Chot is running out of options or he wants to throw a wrench in the opposition’s gameplan, then Cañaleta can be the fireman he needs. Leave him open too many times in the span of about 6-7 minutes and watch that deficit get erased as quicker than your jaw can drop to the hardwood. Of course, he’s a high-risk-high-reward guy, so relying on him might also mean that deficit can balloon to something bigger than Gilas can handle (just ask coach Norman Black and the Tropang Texters).

In the next post, we’ll look at a veteran of the 2009 FIBA Asia tourney. This was a guy who had an unfortunate injury in 2013. This was one of the main reasons he didn’t make the final cut for Gilas. We’re talking about nobody but super versatile forward Jared Dillinger.

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5 Comment

his basketball iq is very low


I think we could say the same thing about Japeth Aguilar, but his Gilas experience ultimately made him a much better player. I think, no, I hope, we can say the same thing about KG in the future. #crossyourfingers


I think he's better than Larry Fonacier if we are going to talk about World Cup. He has the skill set and the size to match up with other Small forwards. Larry is just 6'2' (if im not mistaken) and KG is around 6'6 so he can really be a good fit (for me) for Gilas.


I don't recommend KG at Gilas. He would just look like Gary David, or James Yap.

Yes he's a good scorer. That's mostly because he's not well defended outside. He's mostly matched up with power forwards in the PBA, and they don't chase him outside the 3 point area.

That's different in FIBA, where it's not individual defense but team defense. He won't be able to score much the way he scores in the PBA against any FIBA team.
Plus, you can't expect him to play good defense, individually or team defense. He also doesn't have good enough handles to play a 3. You better have a Joe Devance or Chris Ellis to play the 3. He is also not a smart player.


On size&shooting alone, I'd pick KG over JayWash