By Nelson Beltran | philstar.com
MANILA, Philippines – Smart Gilas Team Pilipinas would pick Derby Ace main man James Yap and four Talk n Text stalwarts if it were to choose now the five PBA players reinforcing the Nationals for the Fiba Asia Olympic qualifier in September.
Talk n Text coach Chot Reyes, who is assistant of Rajko Toroman with Smart Gilas, said he’ll pick James Yap, Jimmy Alapag, Ryan Reyes, Ranidel de Ocampo and Kelly Williams over Asi Taulava, Arwind Santos and Jay Washington.
Reyes believes it would also be Toroman’s choices if they were to get the PBA players joining Smart Gilas now.
Yap, Alapag, Reyes, De Ocampo, Williams, Taulava, Santos and Washington were the names listed by Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas as candidates for inclusion in Smart Gilas team competing in the Asian joust in Wuhan, China in September.
From that list, Toroman and his staff will pick at least five who will take a leave from their mother clubs for a full-time stint with Smart Gilas from June to September.
“We need a big guard and Ryan Reyes could well fill that spot. There’s also the need for a steady point guard at crunch time and Jimmy Alapag could be that guy,” said Reyes.
“Our Asian rivals are intimidated by Jimmy. Wherever the team goes, the question being asked is whether Jimmy is there,” Reyes also said.
Meanwhile, Smart Gilas may opt to stretch its participation in the PBA up to the third conference instead of training abroad.
“We may just stay here so as not to be scouted by the opposition. We’re so much scouted, prompting coach Rajko to keep on adjusting our plays,” said Smart Gilas operations chief Butch Antonio.
Members and coaches of the team will be briefed on PBA rules as they visit the PBA office today.
Smart Gilas takes the slot of Barako Bull, vying for the crown in the Commissioners Cup which fires off with a road game between Barangay Ginebra and Meralco Bolts on Feb. 18 in Laoag City.
Meralco may be forced to look for a new import with Anthony Dandridge suffering a suspected hamstring injury in a tune-up game with Rain or Shine Tuesday.
“He scored 16 points with three monster slams in the first half, then he strained his hamstring,” rued Meralco coach Ryan Gregorio.
“His status now is day to day. We will evaluate things after three days,” Gregorio added.
At Ginebra, Nate Brumfield was impressive with 35 points and 14 rebounds, leading the Kings to a 99-94 win over the Powerade Tigers in their own tune-up at the Xavier Gym in San Juan yesterday.
Meanwhile ABS-CBN Sports and Studio 23, welcome the decision of the PBA board to approve Solar’s proposal to transfer the telecast of the PBA games to Studio 23. “Coming as it does from the PBA and Solar Entertainment – both respected sports institutions in the country – we consider this move as a vote of confidence on Studio 23, its branding, reach and overall sports development initiatives,” said ABS-CBN in a statement.