PBA commissioner Chito Salud is set to sit down with national coach Chot Reyes to evaluate Smart Gilas Pilipinas 2.0's performance in its first two tournaments overseas and pinpoint the areas where he and the pro league can help in the buildup to next year's Asian championships.
If necessary, Salud said he is willing to go as far as helping convince other PBA players to join the Gilas program to add depth to a team that won the country's first Jones Cup championship in 14 years and finished fourth in last week's Fiba-Asia Cup in Tokyo.
“I’ll talk with Chot and see what his requirements are and what his concerns are and see how I can also help convince the players to help Smart Gilas,” Salud told Spin.ph. “We want to work closely with Smart Gilas dahil PBA players natin iyan. They give pride and honor to our country.”
Reyes will certainly need Salud's help as he looks to plug holes in the Gilas lineup which were exposed during the failed Tokyo campaign, primarily a back-up to power forward Ranidel de Ocampo and a couple of big men who could spell naturalized player Marcus Douthit.
San Mig Coffee power forward Marc Pingris, Petron Blaze rookie center June Mar Fajardo and Arwind Santos and Talk ‘N Text power forward Kelly Williams are all on Reyes’ wish list as he eyes to come up with an improved lineup for the Fiba Asia for Men (formerly the ABC) tournament next year in Beirut.
Reyes also wants the pro league to change its rules on traveling violations to comform to Fiba rules and has asked that league venues be equipped with the same rims that are used in Fiba-sanctioned tournaments, which players swore are firmer and as a result cause bigger bounces than the ones used in local leagues.
Salud said Smart Gilas 2.0 needs to do better in the fundamentals of the game like free throws and outside shooting, which the national squad failed to hit consistently in the most critical stages of the tournament.
“Off talaga tayo eh,” said Salud, who flew to the Japan capital to personally lend moral support to the team. “We really have to convert our mid- and long-range shots. And when we penetrate inside and get fouled, we need to convert our foul shots. We all know that foul shots are very important, especially in a short tournament like Fiba.”