Gilas Pilipinas head coach Chot Reyes. (Photo courtesy: Tiebreaker Times)
By Tracy Cabrera
MANILA — Preparing for a strong bid in next year’s Fédération Internationale de Basketball (FIBA) World Cup, Gilas head coach Chot Reyes announced that the national team is eyeing to enlist more skilled players from the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA)..
Reyes raised the possibility of recruiting professional cagers in order to expand the national pool to form the strongest possible squad in the country’s hosting of the World Cup.
Aside from Gilas veterans June Mar Fajardo and Japeth Aguilar, the national coach has expressed interest in hiring several other players like reigning PBA Most Valuable Player Scottie Thompson of Barangay Ginebra San Miguel, Calvin Oftana of NLEX and Jaime Malonzo of NorthPort.
“We are also very intrigued, we want to take a look at Oftana and Malonzo, these players and how they are going to play with Ray (Parks) and Dwight (Ramos),” Reyes pointed out.
“We would love to have Scottie Thompson to take a look at how he could play with these players as well,” he added.
Prior to this announcement, Reyes had earlier revealed that he is studying the prospect of beefing up the national squad with more professional players to ensure that it is able to secure the fourth window of the World Cup and even raise the possibility of including them in the training camp that starts on next month.
By that time, he rationalized, the PBA will be approaching the end of semifinals or early stretch of the finals and would have some of its players available for recruitment to join Gilas Pilipinas.
In ending, though, Reyes clarified that it is not decided whether they push on with the recruitment of professional players even as he noted that they still have to finalize the lineup of the national that will compete for the World Cup.
“Of course, right now it’s kind of too early to make any formal pronouncements and we don’t want to preempt anyone,” he concluded. (ai/mtvn)