FOR a veteran internationalist like Michael Madanly, Calvin Abueva should be one talent that is too good to pass up for the next Gilas Pilipinas team being put together by Tab Baldwin.
The longtime Syrian national player said he never got familiar with all the names of the players he played against in his stint as an Asian import for NLEX, but said he will never forget Abueva who he labelled as one of the top Filipino players he had played against in the PBA.
“Yeah, I remember him. I can’t forget that guy. He is good. I like him, very skilled defender,” said Madanly of the former NCAA MVP out of San Sebastian.
“Actually, I am not that too familiar with the players’ names here. But I can remember their faces. And I think, each team has atleast three top players worthy of a slot in the national team,” added the Syrian guard.
Asked to assess Abueva’s talent, Madanly claimed he has tons of memorable experiences with Abueva, which guarded him when NLEX faced Alaska last June 2.
“I think Abueva can excel internationally. Yeah for sure,” he said. “He is very aggressive, actually he can play aggressive and he can do a lot of things for the team.”
And did Abueva at one point hurt him during the game?
“Yeah, he did. But it’s okay, part of the game,” said the sweet-shooting guard from Aleppo, Syria, who reportedly suffered a bruised knee during the Alaska game.
NLEX team therapist George Yorobe confirmed Madanly was hurt in one play involving Abueva, but reiterated that it was nothing serious.
“Nagkaroon ng pasa sa tuhod si Michael after that game, natuhod nga raw siya ni Abueva, pero nakalaro naman,” said Yorobe.
The longtime NLEX staffer also bared Madanly has praised the basketball skills of Jimmy Alapag, who he claimed to be one of the best Filipinos to ever play the game.
“Oo, si Jimmy ang gustong gusto niya. Nagulat nga siya nung nalaman na retired na si Jimmy. Ang tagal daw kasi nilang naglaban nun,” said Yorobe.
“Saka bukod kay Jimmy, isa pa sa favorite niyag Pinoy player eh si Asi (Taulava),” he said of Madanly’s NLEX teammate.
Madanly also believes that with the well-placed national team program in the Philippines, Gilas is bound to do well in the coming Fiba Asia championships in China.
“The Philippines stands a good chance in the coming meet. They’re very strong, they have a huge pool of talents. I think they should be in the finals, I think maybe against China,” he said.
Madanly, however, warned that China is determined to reclaim its place at the top of Asian basketball, saying the team is back in full throttle after a series of disappointing performances.
NBA veteran Yi Jianlian, for one, is back to anchor the Chinese team in the Fiba-Asia wars.
“Their transition I think is over. They are a really good team and they have good players,” Madanly said of
As for defending champion Iran, Madanly said.: “I don’t know what Iran is doing right but I know China is preparing very, very well.”