The SMART-Gilas Pilipinas national program is planning to send its cadet team to represent the country in the qualifying tournament organized by the Southeast Asian Basketball Association for this year’s FIBA Asia Cup, formerly known as the Stankovic Cup.
SMART-Gilas assistant coach Jong Uichico will likely call the shots for the squad, whose lineup is still being finalized.
“I was asked to coach the SMART-Gilas squad composed of cadet players (in the qualifier) this July, but it will also depend if Talk ‘N Text will make it,” Uichico told InterAKTV in a telephone interview on Monday.
According to SMART-Gilas team manager Butch Antonio, the team is still finalizing the lineup for the cadet pool. “Because the UAAP and NCAA tournaments are ongoing at that time, and the PBA also has its ongoing tournament, we will ask players who are free from commitment to join the cadet pool,” he said.
Two candidates who might be available are former Ateneo point guard Emman Monfort, who helped the Sinag Pilipinas squad to the gold medal in last year’s Southeast Asian Games, and ex-FEU center Aldrech Ramos, who saw action for the AirAsia Philippine Patriots in the ASEAN Basketball League.
Filipino-American standouts Cliff Hodge and Chris Ellis, who were also part of the Sinag Pilipinas lineup, could be part of the cadet pool, although Antonio raised issues about their paperwork. “We have to remember the policy imposed by FIBA before regarding Fil-Ams. It happened before to Marcio Lassiter,” said Antonio, referring to the case of former SMART-Gilas wingmen Lassiter and Chris Lutz, who were barred from playing in the first few games of the 2011 FIBA Asia Championship because of questions about their citizenship documents.
SBP executive director Sonny Barrios, meanwhile, said naturalized center Marcus Douthit is expected to beef up the squad.
“We have no choice but to win the championship,” he said.
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