NEWLY-appointed national team coach Jong Uichico is looking to form a tall but quick squad as the country gets ready to extend its basketball dominance in the region in the Southeast Asian Games in Naypyidaw, Myanmar slated December 11-22.
Uichico, who called the shots for the national squad featuring PBA players in the 2002 Busan Asian Games, said he will have an idea of the composition of the team only when the invited players show up for the first practice on October 14.
“Of course, we’d like some quickness also and yung mga malalaki lang naman is if Marcus (Douthit) will play, like if he’s asked, then he’ll play,” Uichico told Spin.ph.
“Pero may pool yan eh from SBP (Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas). They (SBP) still have to ask permission from the school and the players that they are being tapped. Everything is up in the air and SBP will have to take care of that one.”
Gilas cadet squad members Kevin Alas, Garvo Lanete, Jake Pascual, Ronald Pascual, Fil-Am Matt Ganuelas and RR Garcia are shoo-ins for the squad, which will be reinforced by Douthit and a sprinkling of stars from the college basketball scene.
Notable collegiate standouts who are part of the 24-man list are Ateneo’s Kiefer Ravena and Chris Newsome, University of Santo Tomas’ Jeric Teng and Kevin Ferrer, Letran’s Raymund Almazan, National University’s Bobby Ray Parks and La Salle’s Jeron Teng.
Uichico said he picks Thailand, Indonesia and Malaysia as the three main rivals in the biennial conclave the Philippines has dominated 15 times in its last 16 stagings.
A team known as Sinag Pilipinas and coached by Norman Black ruled the 2011 SEA Games basketball event in Jakarta, Indonesia, winning 85-57 over Thailand in the gold medal game.