GILAS coach Chot Reyes is very much aware of the clamor in cyberspace to have Barangay Ginebra 'Twin Towers' Japeth Aguilar and Greg Slaughter in the team bound for the Fiba World Cup in Spain.
“Yes, I can see the messages of the fans. I can read it," the Gilas coach, a popular figure on Twitter with over 81,000 followers, told Spin.ph. "They message me on different social networking sites."
There's just one hitch, though.
As much as Reyes is looking forward to having the Twin Towers in the World Cup team, his choices of players will still depend on the commitment the PBA ballclubs, through the board, will give to the national squad.
Under the parameters set by the board before the Fiba-Asia championships in Manila, member teams were mandated to lend one player each to Gilas but given the green light to lend more if they chose to.
If that ruling still applies to the Gilas team bound for the World Cup, there's no way Reyes can have both Aguilar and Slaughter as well as longtime Gilas mainstay LA Tenorio in his lineup.
"As much as I want to give in to (the fans' clamor), siyempre ayoko namang alam mo na," he said. "One player policy lang ang ibang teams eh. Ang tanong, papayag ba ang team nila na magpahiram ng higit sa isa?”
As it is, there is no way Reyes will part with Tenorio, the MVP when Gilas won the Jones Cup in 2012. Aguilar was drafted by Gilas with the permission of GlobalPort before he was traded to Ginebra.
On the other hand, Slaughter was part of the Gilas pool when he was still an amateur player and was among the last cuts before the Fiba-Asia tournament where the Philippines finished second to Iran.
Now, any decision Reyes will make on the three will be dictated by the ruling of the PBA board.
“I admire the support of the fans. Pero siyempre, may limitasyon tayo,” said Reyes, the only five-time Coach of the Year awardee by the PBA Press Corps.
The clamor to have both Slaughter and Aguilar in the World Cup team is understandable considering how well they have been teaming up so far in leading Ginebra to the best record in the PBA Philippine Cup.
The 6-foot-9 Aguilar is the second best performer in the current all-Filipino statistical race, while Slaughter paces the race for the Rookie of the Year contest.
So dominant is the Ginebra duo that the two have combined for 35.2 points, 19.9 rebounds, and 5.90 blocks per game in the Kings' 9-1 (win-loss) start to the season.
Even Jong Uichico, who steered the Philippine men’s team to the gold medal in the Myanmar Southeast Asian Games, believes the Aguilar-Slaughter tandem will be a big boost to the national team bound for Spain.
The possibility of having the two big men joining Marcus Douthit and June Mar Fajardo in Gilas' frontline is truly mouth-watering, added the former Ginebra coach.
“Kung may possibility maganda ngang option yan. It’s a good one to think about. Marcus (Douthit) sa post, tapos may Japeth and Greg ka pa. Lalo na ngayon we need some size,” said Uichico.
“Imagine you have three big men who can sub each other. OK yun,” added the eight-time champion coach.