As the college season draws to a close, Smart Gilas 2.0 team manager Butch Antonio said they are lining up at least two international tournaments come January 2013 for the national cadet team, composed mainly of some of the country’s best college players.
Ateneo stars Greg Slaughter, Kiefer Ravena and Nico Salva lead the national cadet team that will be representing the country in the Dubai Invitational International tournament set on January 10-19, followed by another international cage joust in Hong Kong on January 22-27.
“We feel these tournaments could somehow prepare our team this early since more or less, itong team na nila Greg Slaughter and Kiefer ang maglalaro sa SEA (Southeast Asian Games) and probably sa Asian Games since the PBA’s commitment is only in the Asian men’s championships,” Antonio told Spin.ph.
The original Smart Gilas squad led by then collegiate standouts JVee Casio, Chris Tiu, Mark Barroca and Mac Baracael saw action in the Dubai Invitational during the 2010 and 2011. The Gilas squad placed a respectable third in the 2010 edition, beating Qatar in the battle for third, before improving to second place the following year, bowing to Egypt in the Finals.
Antonio said tournaments like these can further hone the skills of the current college stars, which hopefully prepares them for the tougher grind ahead once they get elevated to the seniors team.
Aside from the three Ateneo college stars, other shoo-in for the national cadet team include San Sebastian gunner Ronald Pascual, Letran Knights guard Kevin Alas, 2010 UAAP MVP RR Garcia of Far Eastern University along with Gilas 2.0 reserves Garvo Lanete and Matt Roser Ganuelas.
Antonio said he will be getting the final confirmation of back-to-back UAAP MVP Bobby Ray Parks of National University, whom he hopes will be part of the cadet team as well.