NOLI Eala said San Miguel Corp. is not closing the door on lending some of the top players under its umbrella to the Smart-Gilas 2.0 team of coach Chot Reyes.
While admitting that chemistry is important in international play, Eala believes guys like top PBA defensive player Arwind Santos, point guard Alex Cabagnot and gunner Marcio Lassiter, all from Petron, can help make the national team better in the future.
“It has never been the (San Miguel Corp.) management’s position to prevent our players from playing in the national team. But then, it’s up to them (Reyes and staff) to decide if they want to add them to the team or not,” SMC’s director for sports told Spin.ph.
Reyes recently turned down SMC’s offer to lend its players to the Smart Gilas 2.0 bound for the Fiba Asia Cup scheduled from September 14-22 in Tokyo, saying the offer came “too late.”
Nevertheless, Eala is confident that with the current Gilas 2.0 roster, Reyes’ crew is competitive enough to make its mark in a tough bracket that includes powerhouse squads China and Lebanon.
“Kaya ni (coach) Chot iyan. Magaling naman siya,” added Eala.
Eala said the presence of Barangay Ginebra playmaker and Jones Cup hero LA Tenorio in the Tokyo-bound team is proof enough that SMC will not be a hindrance to the country’s dream of global basketball prominence.
Enrico Villanueva, another former Ginebra player who was recently traded to Barako Bull, was also part of the Jones Cup-winning team.
Smart Gilas 2.0 already resumed its regular team practice on Monday. The squad is scheduled to leave early next week for Japan’s capital in time for the Fiba Asia Cup.