BIG help is on the way for the Gilas Pilipinas as several players are willing to make themselves available for the pool come the next window.
This comes after 10 mainstays of the national team program were handed out suspensions following their brawl with Australia in the third window of the FIBA World Cup qualifiers.
Greg Slaughter, one of the original Gilas Pilipinas members, said that he’s more than willing to suit up for the squad given the chance – especially since he’s healthy and is slowly returning to excellent form.
“Yes. I'm ready and waiting to be in the national team again. The first time I did that I had a really good time, got to learn a lot and develop as a player. God willing, I hope to be there again,” Slaughter said.
“There's a few times I went through some injuries that I couldn't be able to join them, but right now I'm healthy, and I feel like I'm starting to get my rhythm back. So I would love to play for the national team again,” he added.
Like Slaughter, the Rain or Shine frontline tandem of Raymond Almazan and Beau Belga are also raring for a call-up.
Almazan has been a member of the pool since the 2017 FIBA Asia before being cut in the second window after not showing up to practices.
The former NCAA Most Valuable Player said that he’s ready now.
“Go lang naman tayo ng go. Always ready. 100 percent ready. Kahit na di ko pa nakikita balita, nasabi sakin ni Chris na sobrang daming fine at suspended, nakakalungkot pero ganun talaga ang players, iba ang mga samahan natin. Ready lang naman ako,” said Almazan.
“Sabi ko nga sa mga interview noon, pag humindi ka, tanga ka e. Ganun talaga mentality ko, everytime may call-up.”
Belga – who was a reserve for the national team in the past - echoed the same sentiments, and added that they have been talking about that chance in the locker room.
“Yun ang pinaguusapan namin kanina sa dugout. Sabi ko ‘ready kayo ipapatawag kayo sa national team.’ Hindi ko naman sinasara ang opportunity to play for the national team,” Belga said.
“Given the chance, flag and country parin yan. Tignan nalang natin.”
Almazan and Belga’s chance may come in earlier as there have been talks about the possibility of the Elasto Painters representing the Philippines in the upcoming Asian Games.
It’s a chance that he’s not willing to let pass.
“Kung binigay samin yung opportunity na yun tatangi ka pa? Hindi ako yung nasa position para umayaw. I’ve been dreaming to play for the national team. Given the chance, yung boss pa namin yung um-oo then okay, good.”