PUTTING Marcus Douthit in the Southeast Asian Games roster is not an ‘overkill’ as far as national head coach Jong Uichico is concerned.
Several observers feel the inclusion of Douthit in the SEA Games roster is not necessary since the Philippines has been in a class of its own in the regional competition, having lost the gold just once since 1977.
“Do we want to win or do we want to win? That’s the question,” said Uichico, in explaining his decision to include Douthit in his roster for the December 8 to 16 tournament in Myanmar.
Douthit has been the Philippines’ naturalized player for several years now having suited up in the Fiba-Asia Championship this year where the country gained a berth in the 2014 Fiba World Cup.
But with other countries reportedly beefing up their roster for the SEA Games with naturalized players, Douthit’s inclusion may not be a bad idea after all, Uichico said.
There have been unconfirmed reports that other countries also have naturalized players, while Myanmar is reportedly dead set on winning a medal.
Uichico said he only wants to be safe than sorry as Douthit’s inclusion will only give the country a better chance of retaining the gold medal.
“Hindi naman ‘yun panigurado but the chances get better. Now, if the priority is not to win, then let’s not include him,” said Uichico.
For his part, Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas executive director Sonny Barrios also doesn’t want to be complacent in the SEA Games.
He recalled a conversation between president Manny V. Pangilinan and then-head coach Norman Black before the 2011 SEA Games. It spoke volumes on how important the SEA Games gold is for Pangilinan.
“Do you want to return to Manila? Then, win the gold in the SEA Games,” Barrios quoted the words Pangilinan told Black to warn him about the implications of a basketball loss in the biennial meet.