The Hypothetical Smart Gilas 2013 Machine
September 27, 2011 by Christian Angelo Jacinto
Kudos Smart Gilas Pilipinas! Despite the so-called “National Heartache” that you’ve given us according to one overzealous writer, it would never account to the sense of pride and happiness that you’ve delivered to Filipino basketball fans when they saw you competing and beating some of the best basketball teams in Asia.
But if there’s one thing that I would agree with Mr. Trinidad’s column, it’s that we really came up short. In the semi-finals, we were beaten in the end game by a clearly superior and hungrier Jordan team. In the last medal game, we lost a won game by again breaking down in the end game against Korea. While I look at our recent setback in a positive manner, it really wouldn’t take an ultimate nay-sayer to say that there are still a lot of things to improve on in order for us to reach the most elusive Olympic dream.
But unlike Mr. Recah Trinidad who keeps on blabbering about the failure of the system without actually giving better alternatives, the proper response to this setback is to stick with the program, retain coach Toroman and prepare for the 2013 championships because I truly believe that not every loss should result into a total revamp of the system.
What would happen to Manny Pacquiao if he sacked Freddie Roach after losing to Morales and settling for draw against Juan Manuel Marquez? Would a four-peat be even possible if Ateneo parted ways with Norman Black after their heartbreaking loss to UST in Season 69?
The thing is, what the nation needs to understand is that losses do happen and success stories doesn’t happen overnight. What Rajko Toroman did was to turn a slumping system, which finished 8th and 9th respectively in the last two qualifiers, into a winning system. Yes, they did break on two of the biggest games of the tournament, but that doesn’t mean that it warrants an automatic curbing of the whole program.
The most logical solution here would be to carry on with what Toroman started, retain him as coach, and well, retain most of the players which played in Wuhan this year. With the addition of some of the best collegiate players today and some pro-cagers, we could have a formidable lineup by 2013.
So with that being said, here’s my proposed 12 man team for FIBA ASIA 2013.
Marcus Douthit – Unless we can actually find a younger, more athletic player with Marcus’ size, I say stick with him. Marcus’ performance in the recent qualifiers is MVP caliber. He led the league in points and rebounding and played a major role in intimidating opponents underneath. He might not be a Filipino by blood, but he damn sure played like one.
Japeth Aguilar – Much like in 09, he saw limited minutes in the court for whatever reasons. But I’m not ready to give up on this kid yet. He’s explosive, he can shoot, he can defend and he has ceiling. If only he could add a few pounds to his frame.
Greg Slaughter – This 6’11 prospect was already training with the team before his stint in Ateneo. Still a raw and undeveloped talent now, the whole nation is hoping that he would somehow develop into a reliable bigman under the tutelage of Coach Norman Black and he will be further polished under Toroman by 2013. With Asi’s age, he could be the perfect replacement as Douthit’s backup.
Joe de Vance – Now hear me out here. A lot of people aren’t really high on JDV but I truly believe that this guy flourishes under the right system. He posted career highs in points, rebounds and assists under Tim Cone and that goes to show you how he responds with the proper system and with proper coaching. He’s the type of guy who could stretch the defense all the way to the three point line, can put the ball in the floor and finish on the break. Ideal 4 guy for Smart Gilas right here.
Marcio Lassiter – In most games in the last qualifier, Marcio Lassiter was the second best player of the team. He’s by far their best on ball defender for Team Philippines and he’s probably also the best finisher of the team. On half court sets, he can create off the dribble and take threes. Perfect fit.
Kelly Williams – While Kelly played the role of a scapegoat after missing two crucial foulshots against Korea, we should never forget what kind of impact Kelly made in the concluded qualifiers. Kelly should not be too old by 2013, and he’s just the type of swinger Gilas needs, a 6’7 guy which can play both forward spots.
Arwind Santos – Arwind is someone who truly deserves a spot in the national team roster. His versatility on both offense and defense could be utilized well under Toroman’s system. He’s quick enough to guard the likes of Rasheem Wright and Cho Seong Min and long enough to guard agile power forwards.
Ronald Pascual – This shouldn’t come off as a surprise if you’ve been following NCAA basketball. Ronald Pascual deserves a spot in the 2013 Gilas team. Probably the best shooter in college ball today, Pascual is having an MVP season with the yet to be defeated San Sebastian Stags, averaging 20 points a game, 5 boards and 3 assists. But let’s forget about his actual stats right now and look at his potential. This guy is 6’4, can jump out of the gym effortlessly and can nail down long bombs. Just exactly what this team needs.
Chris Tiu – He’s no flashy scorer but I think his decision not to join the PBA speaks a lot about his dedication to this team. As cliche as this may sound, Chris is the heart of this team. He’s the leader of the previous delegation to Wuhan and should be the leader of the team in 2013. With his defense, timely shots and leadership, Chris Tiu should be a vital cog come 2013.
JV Casio – With injuries slowing down JV Casio in the recent qualifiers, I say this guy deserves one more shot at the team. JV of course is a deadshot from beyond the arc which could improve more after his stint in the pro league.
Keifer Ravena – Now, it’s time to give some young blood the exposure that they need. Keifer should be the youngest member of the team in 2013 but with the rate that he’s going now, he should be ready by that time. A smart player with a knack of taking over during big games, Keifer could definitely be the future of Philippine Basketball.
Bobby Ray Parks – The reigning UAAP MVP will play for our national team, one way or another. So why not put him in by 2013? Bobby Ray Parks is just what the national team needs. A scorer who could put the ball on the floor, pull up in the perimeter, take set threes, attack the basket and penetrate and kick-0ut. He’s the type of player who could take over when the offense is going nowhere. He’s the type of player that the previous team was missing.
Now that’s my 12 man team. I know a lot of previous players who played well in the previous qualifiers got booted out but that’s the way it goes. Injuries and basketball-politics aside, I see this team making it big in 2013 with the proper system and the proper support hat it deserves from Philippine Basketball Tycoons and Philippine Basketball fans alike.
Let’s go Team Pilipinas! Never stop dreaming, we’re almost there.