ARWIND Santos has reiterated his eagerness to join Smart Gilas-Pilipinas 2.0 in the event national coach Chot Reyes decides to retool his roster, so long as he gets the green light from Petron management.
If the decision was his alone to make, Santos said he is more than willing to reinforce the Gilas team that topped the Jones Cup last month and finished fourth in the Fiba Asia Cup in Tokyo at the weekend.
The long-limbed forward was one of five players that Reyes said he hopes to bolster the team as he builds up for next year's Fiba Asia for Men (formerly ABC championships) in Beirut.
The others on Reyes' wish list are June Mar Fajardo, Greg Slaughter, Marc Pingris, and Kelly Williams. For the full story click here.
“Basta naman papayag ang management, nandito lang kami, naghihintay, ready lang na maglaro para sa bayan,” said the former Far Eastern University King Tamaraw.
"Pero kung ako lang ang magde-desisyon, gusto ko maglaro sa national team."
Santos has had a taste of international basketball in the past, having played for Yeng Guiao's team of PBA stars during the 2009 Fiba-Asia Championship For Men in Tianjin, China.
Having followed the national team’s campaign in the Fiba Asia Cup, Santos feels the current roster has somehow forged some kind of bonding – a factor that could work well for the team in the long run.
That's the reason the core of the team should be kept intact, he added.
“Lahat sila (referring to the Gilas players), deserving maglaro sa Gilas team. Malalaki lang din talaga ang nakalaban nila sa Asia Cup, pero para sa akin, kailangan talaga eh buo pa rin sana sila,” said Santos.
“ Yung intact pa rin ang line-up, kasi siyempre, kung ikukumpara mo ang Gilas sa mga nakalaban nila, selection pa lang kasi tayo, unlike yung ibang Asian countries, mga matatagal na magkasama,” added the five-time PBA All-Star.
Only two weeks ago, San Miguel Corp. sports director Noli Eala said SMC is not closing its doors on lending some of its top players to the national team.
In fact, Eala said Santos, Lassiter, and even playmaker Alex Cabagnot could be assets to this second batch of Smart Gilas team owing to their experience and tremendous basketball skills.
But the SMC official said the ball is now in Reyes' court, adding it is up to the national coach to extend invitations to the Petron superstars to play for the national team in the future.