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    Five Pinoys who could follow Thirdy's footsteps as future overseas imports

    Jun 28, 2020

    KAI Sotto is now in the NBA G League. Thirdy Ravena is about to play in the Japanese B.League. Ken Tuffin is currently suiting up in the New Zealand National Basketball League.

    Exciting times it is for Filipino basketball players as young studs have started to hoist our flag high and proud overseas.

    It's about time that the world gets to know the caliber of the Filipinos, and we think that it won't end here, with more talents poised to take their acts past our shores.

    With that, Spin.ph picks five names who we believe can garner interest from international teams if they do decide to take their acts elsewhere.

    Kobe Paras

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    Everyone knew how good Paras was even before he tried his luck in the United States after a promising run for La Salle Greenhills in the high school level.

    But when he returned in the country to play for University of the Philippines, boy did he ball.

    The second-generation star was truly worth the hype for the Fighting Maroons as he immediately vaulted himself as the top dog in Diliman this past UAAP Season 82.

    Paras averaged 17.4 points, 5.7 rebounds, 1.9 assists, and 1.3 blocks to earn his rightful place in the Mythical Team in only his first year in UP.

    That performance only set him up for bigger things in the coming years, and we won't be surprised if in the future, the B.League and more leagues will come knocking on the 6-foot-6 winger's door.

    Dwight Ramos

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    There's a reason why coach Chot Reyes has long coveted Ramos to be a part of the Gilas Pilipinas pool.

    And it's for those same reasons why Ateneo coach Tab Baldwin is gushing over the gifts he possesses that he even called him as a "game-changer."

    The 6-foot-5 Fil-Am guard from Walnut, California is as versatile as they come, a gritty defender who can put up points when he needs to.

    Ramos showcased his talents for Gilas in its game against Indonesia last February during the first window of the 2021 Fiba Asia Cup qualifiers, putting up five points, five rebounds, two assists, and two steals in his 16 minutes of action, proving why he's truly efficiency personified.

    Yes, the Blue Eagles have first dibs on him, but we believe that with that showing, interest from overseas teams are truly piqued.

    Juan Gomez de Liaño

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    Here's one who has long been touted as one of Philippine basketball's future superstars.

    Gomez de Liaño may skip the next season for University of the Philippines, but his body of work already speaks for itself.

    The 6-foot guard has grown so much from his days as a budding greenhorn who won the UAAP Season 80 Rookie of the Year award that it's no longer a shock when Mighty Sports and Gilas Pilipinas included him on their rosters.

    Gomez de Liaño has seized those opportunities given to him, especially in the national team where he racked 10 points, two assists, and one board in 11 minutes of play against Indonesia.

    Something tells us that international teams already have Juan GDL on their radars.


      Justine Baltazar

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      Baltazar has been considered as one of the top young bigs the country has to offer, dating back from his days in National University - Nazareth School.

      It took time, but the Kapampangan slotman's growth was well worth the wait, honing his skills behind one Ben Mbala.

      And when he was finally let loose, Baltazar was an absolute beast, a dependable double-double machine in La Salle that was even shortlisted in the Gilas pool.

      Last UAAP Season 82 alone, the 6-foot-7 banger posted 15.1 points, 11.8 rebounds, 1.3 assists, and 1.1 blocks for the Green Archers to be named in the Mythical Team selection.

      There's still a lot of things Baltazar can develop on his game, but we're one with Tuffin in believing that Baltazar is capable of strutting his stuff in the international game.

      RJ Abarrientos

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      Here's something out of left field.

      Abarrientos is still yet to play in the collegiate level, but this early, the Far Eastern University do-it-all guard has presented himself as one of the most lethal gunners in the amateurs.

      In his final year with the Baby Tamaraws in UAAP Season 80, the 5-foot-11 guard was a killer, averaging 16.3 points on a 34-percent clip from threes, to go with 5.4 rebounds and 4.3 assists as he showed maturity well beyond his age.

      Abarrientos also did not shy away from making the 3x3 court his personal playground, showcasing his potential in a global stage in the 2019 Fiba 3x3 Asia Cup in Changsha.

      It's probably in the genes as the nephew of PBA legend Johnny Abarrientos obviously has the it factor too -- a key factor why teams, not just here but also abroad, should watch out for this kid.

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