“Deep, versatile, skilled.”
That’s how incoming SMART-Gilas Pilipinas coach Chot Reyes described the 16-man pool from the PBA he named on Tuesday.
The list includes six players from his Talk ‘N Text Tropang Texters: Jimmy Alapag, Jayson Castro, Ranidel De Ocampo, Larry Fonacier, Ryan Reyes, and Kelly Williams. He also selected LA Tenorio and Sonny Thoss of the Alaska Aces, James Yap and Marc Pingris of the B-MEG Llamados, Alex Cabagnot and Arwind Santos of the Petron Blaze Boosters, Gary David and Marcio Lassiter of the Powerade Tigers, Gabe Norwood of the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters, and Enrico Villanueva of the Barangay Ginebra Kings.
Having been coach of the national team in the past, Reyes knows that Filipino basketball fans would always have something to say about his choices.
“No need to justify anything. Anytime you try to pick out 16 of the country’s best 150 players, someone will be left out and your choice will be questioned,” said Reyes.
Notably missing from the PBA pool are former SMART-Gilas standouts JVee Casio, Chris Lutz, and Japeth Aguilar.
In an earlier interview, Reyes was also upbeat about the team’s chances because of the definite presence of a naturalized player in the lineup. Marcus Douthit suited up for the team in the 2011 FIBA Asia Championship, but it remains unclear if the center will be the team’s choice of reinforcement again.
Reyes also said that a cadet pool composed of top collegiate and amateur standouts will be announced soon. Members of the Sinag Pilipinas national team, which won the gold medal in the 2011 Southeast Asian Games, are expected to be part of the cadet pool.