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Thursday, July 9, 2015

Gilas Watch: Considering Who Did Well in PBA Season 40

Barely 2 months before the 28th Asian Basketball Championship in Changsha, Hunan, China on 23 September to 3 October 2015, Gilas Pilipinas is yet to start practicing. Although Gilas Pilipinas head coach Tab Badlwin has already submitted his 26-man pool wishlist to the Philippine Basketball Association, no announcements has yet been made as to who will be part of the pool.

28th FIBA Asia Championship
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According to Baldwin, members of the national training pool for the 2014 FIBA World Cup in Spain will most likely be part of the pool owing to their experience in the international game. Minus the retired Jimmy Alapag, the pool should include Ginebra's LA Tenorio and Japeth Aguilar, Rain or Shine's Paul Lee, Jeff Chan, Beau Belga, and Gabe Norwood, Talk N'Text's Jayson Castro, Ranidel de Ocampo, and Anthony Washington, Meralco's Gary David and Jared Dillinger, San Miguel Beer's June Mar Fajardo, Star Hotshots Marc Pingris, and naturalized players Andray Blatche and Marcus Douthit. 

In addition, some cadet players who recently represented the Philippines in the Southeast Asian Basketball Association Championships and the Southeast Asian Games may also have an outside chance of making the pool. The most notable of which are 6'7" stretch forward Troy Rosario, 6'4" combo guard Rayray Parks, long-time Gilas cadet mainstay Garvo Lanete, and 6'0" guard Kiefer Ravena. These names, I surmise, may not however be part of the 26-strong list submitted by Baldwin to the PBA, a list that probably consisted entirely of active PBA players.

It would be safe to assume that Coach Tab will base his choices largely on the recent performance of players in the 40th season of the Philippine Basketball Association. So let's take a look at the PBA players who did well in PBA Season 40 who were not part of the national pool in 2014. They may have an outside chance of being named to the current Gilas pool.

Terrence Romeo

The 5'11" Globalport guard is tops among local scorers in PBA Season 40 with a 19.66 points per game average besting Talk N'Text guard Jayson Castro(18.21 ppg), San Miguel's June Mar Fajardo(17.46 ppg), Rain or Shine's Paul Lee(15.55 ppg), and Talk N'Text's Ranidel de Ocampo(15.06 ppg). Of the top 5 local scorers, only Romeo was not part of the Philippine team to the 2014 FIBA World Cup.

Arwind Santos

Arwind Santos won the Philippine Cup Finals MVP Award as he help carry the Beermen to the title. For the season, Santos has per game averages of 12.86 points, 7.02 rebounds, 1.4 assists, and 1.2 blocks. However, he is only shooting 30.4% from the field.

Marcio Lassiter

Marcio Lassiter is shooting the lights out as of late. He recently tied Kenneth Duremdes' playoff record of most threes made in a game. He is shooting an impressive 40.6% for the season, second to Jayson Castro's 41.6%. He is averaging 11.87 points, 3.72 rebounds, and 2.17 assists per contest this season. On San Miguel Beer's road to the PBA Governor's Cup finals, Lassiter averaged 15.82 points, 3.82 rebounds, 2.35 assists, and 1.06 steals per game while shooting 52.3% from distance. While that is only good for second to Jared Dillinger's 58.8 percent on a 10-of-17 clip, Lassiter has made 56 treys in 107 attempts. The 56 makes is the most among all players for the conference. In the semifinal against Rain or Shine, Marcio shot an incredible 64.5% from the parking lot. Lassiter is also not new to the international game as he was part of the first Gilas team.

Greg Slaughter

It would be hard not to include the 7-foot Greg Slaughter into the Gilas pool. We only hope that his papers are in order. But for PBA Season 40, he played good enough to merit consideration: 14.84 points(6th-best among locals), 10.28 rebounds(2nd-best among locals), and 1.28 assists per ball game. He is also second in overall player efficiency this season. 

Asi Taulava

The evergreen NLEX Road Warriors center has publicly stated that he is more than willing to represent the country again even at his advanced age of 42. His numbers in PBA Season 40 is nothing short of impressive. Despite the emergence of young big men, Asi has more than held his ground with season averages of 13.86 points(8th-best among locals), 9.94 rebounds(3rd-best among locals), and 1.94 assists. Asi is ranked 4th in player efficiency in PBA Season 40. His wealth of international experience will also be a plus factor.

Calvin Abueva

The Beast has long been touted as a player that can help the Philippine team except only for concerns about attitude. The Angeles bruiser is averaging 12.7 points, 8.94 boards, and 2.3 assists per contest for Alaska this season. But more than the numbers, it is his intimidating presence that could spell the difference in a game. He is ranked 6th in overall player efficiency this season. 

Other Notable Players

Other players that may be considered to the pool are 6'5" defensive ace Matt Ganuelas-Rosser of Talk N'Text, Alaska hotshot Dondon Hontiveros, 6'7" Alaska pivot Sonny Thoss, and Rain or Shine 6'8" beanpole Raymund Almazan. 

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