NATIONAL coach Chot Reyes said there will be no shoo-ins to the Gilas Pilipinas team bound for the World Cup and Asian Games, saying he expects nothing less than fierce competition for places among the 17 players he named to his training pool on Friday.
"There is no such thing as a shoo-in for this team," said Reyes, just moments after baring the composition of a deep, talented training pool from where the teams to the World Cup in Spain and the Asian Games in Incheon, South Korea will be picked.
Asked if he expects the original members of the Gilas team that finished runner-up to Iran in the last Fiba-Asia championships to fight tooth and nail to keep their places, Reyes said: "I expect nothing less."
"All the 12 players in the Fiba-Asia team know that. You can call each one of them and they’ll tell you right now that they don’t consider themselves shoo-ins for the team," added the multi-titled coach.
"Being in the original Gilas team is an advantage, but not a guarantee (of a spot)."
The arrival of fresh faces in Paul Lee, Marcio Lassiter, and Jared Dillinger to the pool is expected to trigger a battle for the backcourt and wing positions, putting under threat the spots of players like LA Tenorio, Jason Castro, Jimmy Alapag, Gary David, Larry Fonacier, Gabe Norwood, and Jeff Chan.
On the other hand, Greg Slaughter and Beau Belga's return to the pool after being the last cuts in the Fiba-Asia team will mean frontliners like Marc Pingris, June Mar Fajardo, Ranidel de Ocampo, and Japeth Aguilar can't rest on their laurels when training camp begins.
Reyes said even naturalized player Marcus Douthit can't rest easy, with NBA veteran Andrey Blatche awaiting the processing of his naturalization papers by Congress.
"Marcus himself has said it: 'It's down to me,'" Reyes said.