2014 FIBA World Cup: Smart Gilas: MY Final Roster

Laban Pilipinas! 

Cutting players from the National Team is not an enviable position for any coach. These players sacrificed their time and effort to play for their country (for free) but in the end, not all of them can suit up and play during the 2014 FIBA World Cup in Spain. Coach Chot Reyes of Smart Gilas had to trim down his roster to 12 players from a pool of 16 guys that traveled with Team Pilipinas overseas.

Coach Reyes selected Paul Lee, LA Tenorio, Marc Pingris, Ranidel De Ocampo, Junemar Fajardo, Jayson Castro, Jimmy Alapag, Japeth Aguilar, Gabe Norwood, Gary David, Jeff Chan and Andray Blatche (naturalized player) to represent the Philippines in Spain. Those who were left out of the final-12 included Jay Washington, Jared Dillinger, Beau Belga and Marcus Douthit.

Now, if I had the power to select 12 players for Smart Gilas, this would my team and my reasons for their selections.

Paul Lee - Mr. "Angas ng Tondo" showed us how clutch and fearless he was when he nailed three FTs to give Gilas a bronze medal in the FIBA Asia Cup last July. Lee is a solid shooter who can nail threes and he can penetrate to the pain. Lee is never afraid to bang bodies and challenge the big guys.

Jimmy Alapag - Long-range shooting is needed to counter the zone defense and Alapag can definitely provide that. Jimmy is our best off-the-dribble three-point shooter and he can hit shots coming from high screens near the top of the key. Alapag also makes good decisions with the ball.

Jayson Castro - The best PG in Asia is the fastest guy on this team. The Blur can beat most guys off the dribble and he is almost impossible to stop in transition. His size allows him to overpower most PGs and he is an above average play-maker.

Ranidel De Ocampo - RDO is our best shooting big man who has three-point range. His presence will force defenders to come out of the lane to challenge his shots and defend him. RDO can also occasionally put the ball on the floor and drive to the paint after pump-faking his defenders at the arc.

Junemar Fajardo - The MVP of the PBA is our biggest local who can defend the paint and grab rebounds. Fajardo has decent low-post moves that can be showcased when a change of pace is essential. Fajardo can also hit elbow jumpers when running pick and pops.

Gabe Norwood - Our best perimeter defender is Mr. Norwood. He can defend both guard positions and if needed, even the SF spot. Norwood is a solid ball-handler who can help bring the ball down and his improved jumper can keep defenders honest. Gabe is also a major asset during the fast break.

Marc Pingris - Pinoy Sakuragi is arguably our best all-around defender since he can defend some guards and mostly forwards. Pingris also hustles and brings a ton of energy whenever he is on the floor. He is good at transforming offensive boards into points or extra possessions for Gilas.

Jeff Chan - Chan is a decent back-court defender but his strength lies on his outside touch. Chan is our best perimeter shooter and a reliable FT shooter. He is crafty with his pump-fakes and he can fish fouls on his jumpers with frequency.

Japeth Aguilar - Aguilar and Norwood are the most athletic guys on the team. Japeth can finish above the rim and having him in transition highlights his skills. Aguilar can also hit the mid-range shot when left open and his leaping ability and length, allow him to alter and block some shots.

Andray Blatche - 'Dray is our best offensive player. He can shoot, drive to the paint, pass, dribble and rebound. He is also an adept play-maker when he does not decide to jack up long-range jumpers. His deficiencies can be found on the defensive end but playing zone defense might hide that problem.
Jared Dillinger - Jared is like Norwood. He can defend the perimeter and can be very pesky and annoying to our opponents. Dillinger can handle the ball and perform PG duties if the need arises. While Norwood has the edge on defense, Dillinger is a more consistent shooter.

Jay Washington - J-Wash is a much improved outside shooter. He has shown the ability to make treys during games that he played. Washington also has size and length that could prove crucial when playing against bigger teams.

The players that I left out include:

LA Tenorio - His outside shot has been inconsistent and he is playing a position of strength on the team since we have a lot of guys who can play PG and they are bigger and longer than Tenorio.

Gary David - Gary is still a decent shooter but his lateral quickness has been a step slower and he is not known for his perimeter defense. If David is not making his shots, he becomes a liability on defense.

Beau Belga - He is arguably the second-best shooting big man after RDO but his lack of height (not size) and foot speed does not make him one of the best choices to play in international ball.

Marcus Douthit - Kuya Marcus anchors the defense, protects the paint and grabs rebounds. He can operate in the low post but has limited shooting range. Blatche is an upgrade over him.

Overall, it does not matter who was picked or not picked to play for Smart Gilas. The players on our National Team will play with pride, effort, belief and a whole lot of PUSO! As fans and supporters, we must put our trust in them no matter what. 

It's true that we should be happy that Team Pilipinas made it to Spain BUT why not hope and aim for more? Look, if we win a game or two and advance to the next round, we should be happy, excited, inspired and proud. However, if we lose all our games, we should STILL be happy, excited, inspired and proud of our team. Go Gilas! Laban Pilipinas! We sre behind you the rest of the way! #puso

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1 Comment

Agry ako sa selection mo Sir..yan dapat talaga line up..pero suportahan ko nalang choice ni Coach..Thumbs Up sayo Sir