GILAS Pilpinas unveiled its official roster for the upcoming SEABA Championship on Friday, but head coach Chot Reyes admitted that picking the 12 players wasn't the easiest decision to make.
The performance of the young Gilas team in a come-from-behind win over seasoned PBA All-Stars representing Luzon only made it worse for Reyes. In fact, if he could only make room for more players, he already had three names in mind.
"If I had to choose 15, Kevin Ferrer, Carl Bryan Cruz and Mike Tolomia would definitely be there," Reyes told reporters after Gilas' 122-111 victory over the powerhouse PBA Luzon All Stars.
"So that gives you an idea on how hard it was for us," he added.
Not surprisingly, the trio was instrumental in the Gilas endgame rally, when the national team made a 17-0 run to stun the Calvin Abueva-led team.
Tolomia finished with 15 points and five rebounds, while Ferrer and Cruz combined for the 12 in the pivotal blitz.
"That's the reason why right after the game we had to go back to the dugout. We had a quick discussion, we just discussed in the end who will make the final line-up," Reyes continued.
Reyes put emphasis on the fact that the selection is only for the regional tournament, and by no means will this be the final line-up for the national team in the succeeding tournaments.
"I don't want to call it the final 12. This is merely the SEABA 12. There are some players on the team who are in the team because we wanted to get a look at them in international competition and that will form our decision on FIBA Asia if we make it," said Reyes, who reiterated that there are still other tournaments for those who were cut from the SEABA 12.
"We still have the Southeast Asian Games, the Jones Cup to look forward too and the World Cup qualifiers, so there's still a lot of tournaments for this team. This is just the first step," he added.