Gilas Pilipinas assistant coach Jong Uichico believes that the national team to the Southeast Asian (SEA) Games has what it takes to win the gold medal but admits it won’t be easy.
“For sure lahat ng mga makakalaban natin todo yan pagdating sa SEA Games,” Uichico said yesterday. “Of course, we have a good chance. But it’s going to be a tough tournament.”
Gilas Pilipinas project chief coach Chot Reyes named the 12-man roster to the biennial meet on Aug. 19 to 30 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia and Uichico is likely to call the shots.
This is because the SEA Games runs in conflict with the schedule of the FIBA Asia Cup in Lebanon where the national team is also set to compete, and Reyes will be coaching the squad.
The 12 players for the SEA Games are PBA players Troy Rosario, Almond Vosotros, Baser Amer, Mike Tolomia, Kevin Ferrer, Von Pessumal and Carl Bryan Cruz, while joining them are amateur standouts Bobby Ray Parks Jr., Kiefer Ravena, Kobe Paras, Raymar Jose and Filipino-German Chris Standhardinger.
Of the current roster, three of them played for Uichico when the national team captured the gold medal during the 2013 SEA Games in Myanmar, and these are Parks, Ravena and Ferrer.
That team also had naturalized player Marcus Douthit, who likewise played in Singapore SEA Games two years ago. This version of the national team won’t have a naturalized player.
That, according to Uichico, would give other teams like Indonesia an advantage since “they’ll be bringing their naturalized player to the SEA Games” while others like Thailand is contemplating on having one.
In the last SEABA, Indonesia played its final game against the Philippine with naturalized player Jamarr Johnson and Indonesian-American Arki Wisnu, and were destroyed, 97-64, against a Gilas side that has naturalized Andray Blatche and several PBA veterans.
In the SEA Games, Uichico expects things to be really close when the Philippines meets Indonesia as Johnson, Wisnu and Mario Wuysang look formidable as a gold medal contender.