ANTIPOLO CITY – Offers to play for Gilas Pilipinas in the second round of the FIBA World Cup qualifier has suddenly snowballed.
Three more players including naturalized player Christian Standhardinger have made themselves available as replacement players for our embattled national team.
Alaska forward Vic Manuel said it has been a dream of his to represent the country’s tricolors in a major international competition.
“Siyempre kung mabibigyan ng chance, malaking tulong yun,” said Manuel, whose 24 points led Alaska to a big win over San Miguel Beer in Game Three of the PBA Commissioner’s Cup semifinals.
“Gusto ko rin namang makatulong sa kanila (Gilas).”
Manuel along with Standhardinger and Arwind Santos were among the prominent names mentioned as possible players being considered for inclusion in the Gilas Pilipinas pool following the suspension of the 10 players involved in the massive brawl between the Philippines and Australia during their FIBA World Cup qualifier game three weeks ago.
League commissioner Willie Marcial said on Thursday when the Fiba suspension was announced that the PBA Board has given the go-signal for Gilas to select players from the clubs to take over the place left by the suspended national team members.
Of the three, Standhardinger’s services is the most vital since he’ll be taking over the spot vacated by Andray Blatche, who is serving a three-game suspension and won’t be back until the middle part of the second round of the qualifier.
The Fil-German rookie is deferring to the blessing of his mother ballclub San Miguel Beer, but made clear he is to ready to play anew for Gilas.
“Everybody knows I’m always open to it and I always want to,” said Standhardinger.
The 36-year-old Santos, a part of the Powerade-Philippinen team of coach Yeng Guiao that saw action in the 2009 Fiba Asia Championship in Tianjin, China said he is also available if called up.
The lanky forward added it would be a welcome stint for him teaming up with San Miguel teammate June Mar Fajardo for Gilas. The 6-foot-11 Fajardo is one of only three players spared sanctions by Fiba. The others were Gabe Norwood and Baser Amer.
“Kung kailangan nila, sige nandito lang ako,” said Santos.