After failing to get a commitment from some players named to the PBA pool for the SMART-Gilas Pilipinas national program, incoming coach Chot Reyes identified five other cagers to be part of the squad.
Reyes said the coaching staff have decided to tap Sol Mercado of Meralco, Jared Dillinger of Talk ‘N Text, Jeff Chan of Rain or Shine, JVee Casio of Powerade, and Mac Baracael of Alaska. The decision comes after original choices James Yap and Marc Pingris of B-MEG, and Arwind Santos, Alex Cabagnot, and Marcio Lassiter of Petron failed to submit a letter of commitment to the squad.
According to Reyes, the five new players “have expressed their willingness to sign the letter of commitment with the blessing of their respective PBA teams.”
SMART-Gilas team manager Butch Antonio said the squad will hold its first meeting on Monday.
“We will bare details of the program, including schedules of practices, camps, and training tournaments [during the meeting]. Coach Chot will also show them the Road Map to the 2013 FIBA Asia Championships,” said Antonio
“The tournaments this year that the team will be preparing for are the SEABA (qualifier for FIBA Asia Stankovic Cup) in July, the Jones Cup in August, the FIBA Asia Stankovic Cup in September, and the FIBA Asia Champions Cup in October. We will also have an exhibition game in June against the Shanghai Sharks.”
Earlier, eleven players expressed their intent to join the national program, including Jimmy Alapag, Jayson Castro, Kelly Williams, Ryan Reyes, Ranidel De Ocampo, and Larry Fonacier of Talk ‘N Text; LA Tenorio and Sonny Thoss of Alaska; Gabe Norwood of Rain or Shine; Enrico Villanueva of Ginebra; and Gary David of Powerade.
Yap, Pingris, Santos, Cabagnot, and Lassiter all belong to teams owned by the San Miguel Corporation. Responding to a question from Petron’s Dorian Peña on Twitter, Reyes hinted that the conglomerate’s management disallowed the players from joining the national pool. However, Villanueva also plays for a team owned by SMC, but signed the letter of intent.
The Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas, meanwhile, added that the composition of the cadet pool of top amateur players who will be part of the program will be announced soon.
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