FOR Hall of Famer William `Bogs’ Adornado, height is still might in basketball that if he has his way, big men June Mar Fajardo and Greg Slaughter should be shoo-ins for the Gilas Pilipinas team vying in the Fiba-Asia Men’s Basketball Championship.
Fajardo, the freshman center of Petron, was officially measured at 6-10 during the PBA rookie camp while Slaughter is a seven-footer - two towering players which Adornado concedes become available to the Philippine team once in a long while.
“I would suggest Fajardo and Slaughter should be in the lineup not only for this tournament (FIBA-Asia), but for future Philippine teams,” said the former PH team top gunner, a member of the last all-Filipino squad to win the Fiba-Asia championship in 1973 (then still known as the Asian Basketball Championship).
“They (Fajardo and Slaughter) have the height. Very rare sa atin ang mga seven-footers.”
Slaughter is already a part of the cadet training pool of Gilas Pilipinas, while Fajardo is one of the players national coach Chot Reyes wants to be included in his roster for the Fiba-Asia tournament which the country is hosting for the first time in 40 years.
As with the 1973 team, Adornado recalled how a young center made it to coach Tito Eduque's lineup simply because of his 6-foot-5 height.
“Si Abet (Guidaben) was tapped to play for the team because he was among the tallest Filipino players back then. He has the talent and can really play, but very raw pa siya that time,” recalled the forward, who is considered one of the all-time best shooters the country has ever produced and the unofficial MVP of that 1973 ABC hosting.
One of only three players to win the MVP trophy in the PBA three times, Adornado also said it would be good to have a tall point guard in the mold of Rain or Shine’s Gabe Norwood.
“We need those kind of quality players (tall point guard) internationally,” said the former University of Santo Tomas star, who also listed LA Tenorio, Jayson Castro, and Jimmy Alapag among the point guards capable of running the show for the national team.
And given the talent, preparation, and the chance to play in front of this basketball-loving nation, Adornado is very positive Gilas Pilipinas has an excellent shot at winning the championship.
“It’s been a long time. I think we can do it. Let us work together to regain the championship.”