If you are still unaware, Gilas Pilipinas has already released its 23-man pool where they would select their final roster that would compete in the 2019 FIBA World Cup Qualifiers (Asia) against Japan on November 24 and Chinese Taipei on November 27 of this year.
And as expected many did also have their own say on whom they would wish for the Final 12 — in which we actually considered 9 of their choices, namely: Andray Blatche, Jayson Castro, Terrence Romeo, RR Pogoy, Matthew Wright, Gabe Norwood, Troy Rosario, Raymond Almazan, and Japeth Aguilar while dropping out June Mar Fajardo, Kiefer Ravena and Calvin Abueva.
While Fajardo is a tall and talented 4-time PBA MVP — this basketball-loving country just has to accept that he is slow for international competitions. Maybe he could be useful against less talented teams but against much better ones, they could just play small ball to Gilas’ demise if Fajardo is on the floor.
Okay, Ravena may have lots of international experience — then again, those were just against fellow southeast Asians, weaker opponents or just in 3-on-3 tourneys — but just like Fajardo, he’s pretty slow. In fact, he’s interestingly slow for a player of his height. Comparing him to 6-foot players back then — Samboy Lim has some hang time which makes him tough to defend while his father, Bong Ravena, was quicker and more athletic than he was. With that, Kiefer’s attacks that were effective against most competition he has faced would, more often than not, find its way to the hoop only through luck especially against Australia whom they are also grouped with.
Now, Calvin Abueva. Despite his years in playing the game, he is still like awkward — he’s even got poor free-throw shooting; and the only thing that’s actually carrying him in the game is his rough style which suits the Filipino audience but surely not outside the country. Still, if only to choose between him and Ravena, he’d be a better choice since he’s a little taller while his roughness could somehow scare the opponents.
In the end, to achieve some measure of success, Gilas should learn to adapt to the international brand of play which is about speed and perimeter shooting more than post presence. And don’t forget defense. These then should be the guide in finalizing their lineup.