MARCUS Douthit is impressed with one member of the Gilas cadet training pool, and he's not named Kiefer or Bobby Ray or Troy or Scottie.
From among the young players gathered by the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas for the team bound for the Southeast Asian Basketball Association (Seaba) Championship and SEA Games, the Gilas naturalized player said it was Prince Rivero who impressed him the most.
Despite Rivero missing the final 12-man cut for the Seaba along with La Salle teammates Jeron Teng and Arnold Van Opstal, Douthit said he was struck by how a player barely out of his teens has been able to cope with the physicality and complexities of the Gilas system.
“I’ve seen Kiefer (Ravena), pretty much all the other guys. But Prince definitely surprised me because of his age,” Douthit told Spin.ph following the Gilas cadets’ last tune-up game on Thursday night against Blackwater before leaving for the Seaba showpiece in Singapore.
Despite missing the cut, the 6-foot-3 Rivero has continuously attended Gilas cadet practices including the final tune-up game against the Elite on Thursday night at the Meralco gym where he also played.
Douthit, who turned 35 recently, said he is amazed at how the 20-year-old Rivero has been responding to the level of physicality of the training and tune-up games despite being one of the youngest in the pool.
“He is so young right now but physically, he is almost ready,” said the second-round draftee of the Los Angeles Lakers in the 2004 NBA draft.
Douthit said he sees a bright future for the former NCAA MVP, who he said is bound to be a mainstay of the national team member in years to come.
“He definitely has an upside. If he keeps getting better and better, you know, he’ll be playing for the national team for the next 15 years. This is a good start for him. He is definitely one of the guys that impressed me the most, at this moment,” Douthit said.