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    Naturalized players help level Fiba-Asia playing field, says Jong Uichico

    Jul 8, 2013
    Jong Uichico says teams like Chinese-Taipei and Korea need naturalized players to keep up with teams from the Middle East which have become stronger in recent years. Jerome Ascano

    CHINESE-Taipei and Korea are set to parade their own naturalized players in a bid to boost their chances in next month’s Fiba-Asia Men’s Championship.

    Gilas Pilipinas assistant coach Jong Uichico said he’s hardly surprised to hear the news that even the Taiwanese and the Koreans are recruiting naturalized players for inclusion in their respective rosters for the August 1-11 tournament in Manila.

    “They (Koreans and Taiwanese) could have one, kasi everybody is doing it. Advantage din kasi `yung may naturalized player,” Uichico told Spin.ph.

    Chinese-Taipei has tapped former Tulane University standout Quincy Davis to lead the team’s bid for one of three berths up for grabs in the qualifier of the Fiba-World Championship next year.

    The Koreans on the other hand, are still choosing between Greg Stevenson (Moon Tae Young) or Lee Seung Jun as they are currently playing in the William Jones Cup tournament.

    Gilas-Pilipinas itself has utilized the services of naturalized player Marcus Douthit as early as the 2011 edition of Fiba-Asia in Wuhan, China.

    Uichico noted Middle East powerhouse teams like two-time Fiba-Asia champion Iran, Jordan, and Lebanon are big, strong, and fast, which are the major reasons why putting a naturalized player is logical.

    “Ang mga Middle East countries mahina naman before.  Ngayon, they are the powerhouse teams na so malaking bagay sila (naturalized player),” noted the multi-titled PBA coach, who steered the Philippine team to a fourth-place finish in the 2002 Asian Games in Busan, South Korea.

    Uichico said past Philippine national teams struggled against Iran, Jordan, and Lebanon, whose tall players have become better in recent years.

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    “Di maganda masyado ang match-up natin with them (Middle East teams) because they are fast and big. Eh, noon, ang mga Koreans they are as fast as us, but they don’t have the size advantage,” he added.

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    Jong Uichico says teams like Chinese-Taipei and Korea need naturalized players to keep up with teams from the Middle East which have become stronger in recent years. Jerome Ascano
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