by Waylon Galvez
A number of playmakers and guard-forwards made the roster of Gilas Cadets mentor Chot Reyes that will defend the men’s basketball title in the 29th Southeast Asian (SEA) Games in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
Reyes released the 12-man lineup late Tuesday, the same day officials of the Philippine Olympic Committee set the deadline for the biennial meet on Aug. 19 to 30.
The lineup consists of court-generals Baser Amer, Mike Tolomia and Almond Vosotros, while two-way players Kiefer Ravena, Kevin Ferrer, Bobby Ray Parks Jr., Kobe Paras and Von Pessumal, who are capable of switching from point to shooting guards to small forward positions, also got the call.
Completing the squad are frontline players Troy Rosario, Carl Bryan Cruz, Raymar Jose, and Filipino-German Chris Standhardinger, who arrived Tuesday night from Munich.
“Obviously, we wanted to make sure that we have shooters,” Reyes told the media after conducting the team’s practice session the other night at the Meralco gym in Quezon City.
“But I think we have quite a good lineup of big men. That was the biggest deficiency of having an all-Cadet team. Our big guys are undersized big men. But then, with the addition of (6-foot-7) Standhardinger and (6-foot-6) Paras, we’ve been able to address that, and obviously (6-foot-7) Troy,” he added.
“Hopefully that would be enough to get the job done (in the SEA Games),” said Reyes, who has yet to announce who will call the shots – him or lead assistant coach Jong Uichico – since the SEA Games runs in conflict with the schedule of the 2017 FIBA Asia Cup in Lebanon.
Among the 12 players, Ravena, Rosario, Amer, Ferrer, and Vosotros were part of the team that captured the gold medal during the 2015 SEA Games in Singapore under Tab Baldwin.
Reyes also feels that the current lineup isn’t lacking in experience since Rosario, Amer, Ferrer, Tolomia, Pessumal, and Cruz are playing in the pros, with Rosario also an experienced internationalist having donned the country’s colors in last year’s FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament here.
“We wanted to make sure we see the guys first before we make a final decision,” Reyes said. “We had to submit something to beat the deadline, but there’s always a possibility of changes still.”
“God forbid, people get injured, or people don’t come to practice. Then we have time to make changes. For now, the way we’re looking at it, that’s the kind of lineup that we’re hoping to field in the SEA Games,” he added.
“It’s a combination of the Cadets and the new guys plus two PBA veterans. Amer’s and Rosario’s mother teams were very generous to lend them, to allow them to play for the national team.”
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