ALL is not lost for the likes of Troy Rosario, Greg Slaughter, Carlo Lastimosa, JP Eram, and even former cadet players Garvo Lanete, and Kevin Alas in as far as the Gilas Pilipinas 5.0 roster is concerned.
While the agreement between the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) and the PBA only required each team to release one player to the 24-man training pool outside of the 12 Gilas cadets, ballclubs can actually lend more to the national cause on a ‘voluntary basis.’
Although not formally part of the arrangement made by both cage bodies, national coach Chot Reyes said there are actually a number of teams which are willing to lend players more than the common numbers agreed upon.
And for Reyes, he certainly will welcome them with open arms.
“We know for a fact that there are some teams who are willing to lend more than one,” he said. “We’ll take it as it is and as it comes.”
Reyes mentioned Rosario and Lastimosa in particular, admitting the two were given a long look by him and his coaching staff composed of Jong Uichico, Josh Reyes, and Jimmy Alapag before they finally came up with the final list on Friday.
Rosario was part of Gilas 4.0 that competed in the Fiba Olympic Qualifying Tournament here last July.
“Of course, Troy Rosario, we think, really deserves to be here as well. Hopefully, we can add Troy,” said Reyes.
A lot of players from NLEX, according to the national team coach, were also considered, mentioning Lastimosa and the young pair of Lanete and Alas, who Reyes said were ‘high on their list.’
But in the end, Reyes said they settled for Guinto, a bruising presence inside who can hit the jumpers from 18 feet and beyond.
“We need a big who can shoot from the outside. And we’ve seen him taking that outside shot in the past a lot,” he said of Guinto.
Reyes said the composition of the Gilas pool was a lot different from the time he began listing down the players he wanted shortly after his appointment on October 18, prior to the agreement reached by both the SBP and PBA.
He cited the case of Blackwater, where the Gilas spot was a toss-up among Lastimosa, big man JP Eram, and Art dela Cruz.
“But Eram went down with an injury, Carlo got traded, so Art dela Cruz was left,” he pointed out.
“Those are the kind of deliberations that went over a long period,” Reyes added. “But then a lot of changes nung nag open yung PBA, so the coaching staff kept on talking.”
For the moment, Reyes said the coaching staff is pleased with the training pool it was able to assemble, but remains open to the possibility of a couple number of players coming on board in the coming weeks or months.
“This is the pool we have but it is not by any means the final pool,” said Reyes. “But for now this is the players we have in the pool.”