Raymond Almazan likes the potential of both Kevin Quiambao and Mason Amos after seeing the youngsters first-hand during Gilas Pilipinas’ preparations for Window 6 of the FIBA World Cup 2023 Asian Qualifiers.
So much so that he sees the two big men stepping up in their upcoming matches this week, with the Filipino dribblers’ frontline badly depleted.
“Nakita ko sa practice ‘yung Quiambao tsaka ‘yung Amos. They’re promising players,” said the veteran internationalist moments after Meralco’s 114-98 conquest of NLEX in the PBA Governors’ Cup, Thursday night.
The 18-year-old Amos was named to the 12-man lineup set to face Lebanon on Friday at the Philippine Arena in Bulacan, becoming the second youngest player to be fielded by Gilas in this cycle next to Francis Lopez.
Quiambao, meanwhile, remained as one of the team’s reserves, although he still has a chance to see action against Jordan on Monday.
The two are seen to take on bigger roles this window after the team lost Japeth Aguilar to an MCL sprain and both Kai Sotto and Carl Tamayo, who have recently flown to Japan for their respective B.League commitments.
Almazan, together with Chris Newsome, wasn’t included in the final lineup due to scheduling conflict — Meralco is playing a total of two games this week alone, the last of which will be on Sunday against the Magnolia Hotshots.
While Quiambao had already seen action with the seniors’ team, Amos will be making his debut on Friday — a huge leap as he was just part of the Gilas Youth crew that played in the FIBA U18 Asian Championship last August.
The window will indeed be a bigger test for the young cagers but Almazan believes that it would only help them — and Gilas — for the better.
“Makikita mo may potential talaga na maging core ng national team,” said the 33-year-old, who’s been involved with the national team since 2017. “Kasi nakita ko sa dalawang bata talagang malaki matutulong nila in the near future.”
The second game of each PBA gameday is live-streamed on SMART Sports.