Smart Gilas Pilipinas: Glory Behind The Agony

Mr. Manuel V. Pangilinan is right in front of the flag cheering for Smart-Gilas Pilipinas.

Heartbreaking isn’t it?

I know all of us are in such pain right now so I won’t be writing stuff that’s all bout defeat, I will just be focusing on the bright future of Philippine basketball and just be proud of our team. They’ve exceeded expectations, in fact nobody expected them to be in the semi-finals, and to be contending for the championship is an amazing feat for us. We just have to be proud and keep on supporting the guys and the program.

This is just the beginning.

This hurts, I know, we all know, but we have to look at the bright side of things. This Smart Gilas team paved the way for the future teams that would be built to continue what they have started. Yes, I’m talking about somewhat like a version 2 of Smart Gilas national team. This Smart Gilas team also inspired the next batch to work hard and showed them what to expect from international basketball.

Retain Coach Rajko Toroman

Coach Rajko Toroman during a timeout in the semi-finals against Korea Photo by FIBA

But first thing to do is to retain coach Rajko Toroman as head coach of our national team.

We got to admit it, he’s one of the reason for the success of our national squad. He took the boys under his wings, and molded them to play the best basketball of their lives. Coach Rajko made a remarkable job in handling the squad, he implemented a military type of system inside the court and a family oriented atmosphere outside. They literally, eat, sleep and live with each other. They are one solid team. Another reason to sign coach Rajko for another 3 years is that he’s been successful in every programs that he managed. He made Iran what they are today, powerhouse team. He’s the reason why they’re the 2-time champions of the FIBA Asia tournament, and also the reason why Iran made it to the Olympics. We have to be patient with because, I know it will be all worth it.

For The Future

Kiefer Ravena (left) and Bobby Ray Parks Jr. (right)

Another thing to do is to train the prospects that will join the next batch of the Gilas team.

We have a lot of college players that can be molded to play international basketball. Just like Greg Slaughter, the young 7-footer that has been with Smart Gilas already for 2 years, and has gotten a chance to play in the pros. He’s just a young 23 year old that can still be trained inside the paint. He’s post moves can still be worked on, and for sure he’s willing to learn from the best coaches we have.

Aldrech Ramos and RR Garcia of FEU should be in the next batch. Ramos already having the experience to play with Slaughter in Gilas would definitely be a nice add for the team. His outside shooting and length will be a great advantage for out team but he has to gain more beef though. RR Garcia’s court smarts and sharp shooting will give coach Rajko what we wants, a good outside threat. Last season UAAP MVP can be a threat for us with international ball thriving on sharpshooters like him.

Another player that Smart Gilas should definitely look at is Bobby Ray Parks Jr. He’s the UAAP’s rookie-MVP, that averaged 20 points, 6 rebounds and 3 assists during the season. He can create his own shots and for his teammates as well. Not to mention a great defender. He should be a great add for the team. He’s a great young that has an outstanding potential, he will be a big part of our team together with Marcus Douthit.

The Phenom, Kiefer Ravena should also be a shoo-in in the next batch of the national team. His nickname says it all. He can shoot, he can drive, he can pass and has quick hands too. Kiefer has eyes at the back of his head, he makes his teammates better. He definitely has the full-package. Kiefer is the rookie of the year in the UAAP.

Other names that should be on the list of the next batch are, Calvin Abueva, Ronald Pascual, Garvo Lanete, Kevin Alas of Letran and Josan Nimes of Mapua. These players are great offensive players and should be a good addition to the team.

Calvin Abueva

Calvin “The Beast” Abueva is a strong man that could work down in the paint and defend in the perimete. He’s a great defender with his quick feet and hands, and with his physicality he can be a great all around player. For Abueva’s size, he is a great rebounder, that could give you 8-12 rebounds a game. He has hops like crazy, he can jump right over you in the blink. Ronald Pascual is also an all around defender with great scoring ability to boost. He is a great shooter that could create his own shots, and also his a great slasher and passer. He is also good defensively as well.

Ronald Pascual

Ronald Pascual also jumps very high that could produce great dunks.  Garvo Lanete is almost like Ronald Pascual, with his outside stroke and slashing game, Smart Gilas could depend on them on both sides of the court.

Alas is a great defender and a great slasher. He can penetrate anytime, and is also comfortable adjusting his shot in mid-air. Nimes on the other hand has a more complete offensive game, with his outside stroke and slashing ability, he is a threat for the defense.

See, we have enough talent to succeed in the future. With team captain, Chris Tiu, kuya Marcus Douthit, JV Casio and Japeth Aguilar we have a formidable team to compete with. Obviously kuya Marcus Douthit carried the load for the Filipinos and leading the tournament in scoring (21ppg) and rebounds (12rpg). Also, if other teams would allow such players like, Arwind Santos, Jay Washington and Junmar Fajardo, and current national team players Chris Lutz and Marcio Lassiter we have a team that would give us an all-around game.

Thank You Smart Gilas Pilipinas

Smart-Gilas Pilipinas at the FIBA Asia Championships in Wuhan, China

Pilipinas, we have a bright future ahead of us. So stop worrying about the loss and start preparing for the future.

Pilipinas Smart Gilas, keep your heads up, you did a very good job out there in Wuhan. Nothing to be ashamed of guys. No one expected you to be in the semi-final round, but you exceeded their expectations and gave them more. What you did in Wuhan can never be equalize by any other win, you inspired the whole country to dream and that’s the important thing. There’s a saying that goes, “United we stand, divided we fall” and the fact that you united the whole nation, and even gave us even more national pride in our hearts is priceless.

You gave us the chance to dream again, you gave us hope, you showed not only Asia but the whole world that we can compete with the best of them.

And most importantly..

You inspired the whole nation to be better, and made them realize the worth of hard work. You motivated us that if we worked hard to achieve our goals, we can never fail.

You made us believe again.

As we stand united together as one nation, let’s all start this whole new journey together.

All together now. MABUHAY ANG PILIPINAS!

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