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2017 SEABA Championship

Cruz, Tolomia, Ferrer shoo-ins if Reyes had his way


The final 12-man line-up of Gilas Pilipinas for the upcoming 2017 SEABA Championship next month has been revealed, and head coach Chot Reyes says that this is just the program’s initial step towards the future.

“This is merely the SEABA 12. In the future, there are players in the team who [will be] in the team because we want to get a look at them in international competition,” said Reyes after the announcement in Quezon Convention Center in Lucena, Quezon.

“And that’s going to form our decision on FIBA Asia — if we make it –SEA Games, Jones Cup, and the World Qualifiers. There’s still a lot of tournaments for this team, and like I said, this is just the first step.”

The SEABA team, in Reyes’ words, is balanced, versatile, and is a great combination of rookies and veterans. The team will be led by seniors Andray Blatche, June Mar Fajardo, Japeth Aguilar, Jayson Castro, Calvin Abueva, Terrence Romeo, and Troy Rosario.

Completing the cast for the regional tourney are new acquisitions and young guns: reigning Three-Point Shootout champion Allein Maliksi, stretched big man Raymond Almazan, and notable Cadets Jio Jalalon and Matthew Wright.

The SEABA tournament only permits 12 players to represent the country. But if the rules had stated otherwise and required 15 instead, Reyes could have chosen three more players in Cadets Mike Tolomia, Carl Cruz, and Kevin Ferrer.

“If I had to choose 15, Kevin Ferrer, Carl Bryan Cruz, and Mike Tolomia would definitely be there,” said the 53-year-old tactician. “So that should give you an idea how hard it was for us to make a decision.

“We had to go back to the dugout, have a quick discussion, and we just had to discuss in the end who will make the final lineup,” Reyes described, on how hard it was for him and his staff to decide upon the final line-up.

Still, Reyes is satisfied with the roster he built specifically for the tournament, which will be just a few weeks from now.

“This team is built on its flexibility and versatility. We know that in the international game, even the bigs can hit threes, so you have to be able to play defense and you have to be able to switch the ball screens and that’s the kind of lineup that we have.

“I like our ability to do what we were just doing today,” said Reyes.

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Written By

Oftentimes on the sidelines. Forever a student of the game. Morayta-bred.


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