Still Dangerous at the SEABA
|Injuries forced Marcio Lassiter to skip the event.|
The Smart-Gilas squad will compete at the SEABA (Southeast Asian Basketball Association) in order to qualify for the FIBA-Asia Championship. In this quest, Team Pilipinas will not have the services of Jimmy Alapag, Kelly Williams, Asi Taulava, and Dondon Hontiveros who all opted to skip the joust to play for their mother PBA ballclubs. Also, the squad will also be without FEU’s Aldrech Ramos and Ateneo’s Greg Slaughter who will battle each other in the UAAP and will be without Japeth Aguilar, JV Casio, Marcio Lassiter, and Chris Lutz who are all nursing injuries.
So this leaves Gilas with six players – with Marcus Douthit, Chris Tiu, Mark Barocca, Mac Baracael, Jason Ballesteros, and Dylan Ababou having the heavy burden of lifting us to the top. Ababou is also recovering from fever.
Will this be a problem?
I don’t think so.
First of all, I am not belittling our Southeast Asian brothers. Second of all, this is basketball and not football. If this was football and we went to face Indonesia, Malaysia, and Singapore without a semblance of stars, then we’re doomed.
The other thing here is that out of four participants, there are three slots. If Lutz or Ababou can just hop to a plane to help the squad at the last minute, then their presence will surely help. If they couldn’t then the team would have to rely on the six to backstop their chances. Jason Ballesteros might be seldom-used but he is an efficient frontliner who will use this event as a way to tell Gilas coach Rajko Toroman that he deserves a spot in the FIBA-Asia Championship.
And perhaps my final reason why I think the team will breeze this tournament is that the Philippines also scored a free ride to get here. I don’t know when they earned this but surely this is something that could again boost our chances.
Even without a complete lineup I can see the Smart-Gilas squad winning.