NATIONAL coach Chot Reyes said the decision to pick former Gilas mainstay Japeth Aguilar and Talk ‘N Text guard Ryan Reyes was more because of the specific skill sets they can bring to the team vying in the Fiba-Asia men’s championships this August.
Reyes on Thursday named Aguilar and Reyes to the 17-man national pool that will start its once-a-week practice on Monday, 8 p.m. at the Philsports Arena - the only surprise additions to a team dominated by the core of the Gilas team that ruled the Jones Cup in Taipei last year.
And the national coach had a simple explanation for the two decisions.
“I chose Japeth because of his athleticism and size, while Ryan Reyes is a lockdown defender, who like Larry Fonacier, is a good rebounder in the two-guard spot,” said the five-time PBA Coach of the Year awardee.
The 6-9 Aguilar, who arrived late Monday night before joining his new team Globalport in practice the following day, was actually a last-minute addition to the national pool since he only committed to Reyes on Thursday morning, according to his agent Matt Manotoc.
“I asked Japeth during the Globalport press conference if he’s okay to join the national pool. I told him it’s an opportunity that’s hard to pass us since he’ll be playing with the PBA’s best, plus we’re playing it here in Manila, so he said yes,” Manotoc told Spin.ph.
The former Ateneo Blue Eagle big man was part of the original Gilas national program handled by Serbian Rajko Toroman from 2009 to 2011.
He played in the Fiba-Asia men’s championships in Tianjin, China in 2009, averaging 4.3 points and 3.5 rebounds in just 13.5 minutes. He played less than 10 minutes in the 2011 edition in Wuhan, Hubei, China, averaging 6.6 points and 3.2 rebounds.
On the other hand, the 6’2” Reyes was part of the 2009 South East Asia Basketball Association (Seaba) men’s championship in Medan, Indonesia.