For the past few weeks, there has been a clamor snowballing on social media for the inclusion of several players to the Gilas Pilipinas pool – a call that only got louder after an 11-man team lost away to New Zealand by 46 points.
That 106-60 defeat to the Tall Blacks last June 30 only highlighted the gaping holes in the Gilas pool inherited by Nenad Vucinic, which for its sheer lack of size following the ACL injury to naturalized player Ange Kouame and the unavailability of Justine Baltazar had to make William Navarro part of its frontline.
A numeral of names have been mentioned as possible reinforcements for the team heading to the Fiba Asia Cup happening from June 12 to 24 in Indonesia, among them Japan-based Rayray Parks, UP star Ricci Rivero, and Thirdy Ravena.
Fans unhappy with the lineup and worried about its campaign in the Fiba Asia Cup have chimed in, with some of the suggestions making real sense.
Some have asked, ‘Why not Greg Slaughter?’ given the current pool’s tallest player is Geo Chiu. Other fans have suggested NorthPort high-flyer Jamie Malonzo, who in a recent interview has revealed that he is eligible to play for Gilas as a local.
The most intriguing suggestion, especially in light of plans to bring in TNT big men like Poy Erram or Kelly Williams, or both, was this: why not call up Tropang GIGA guard Mikey Williams as a naturalized player?
Sure, why not?
The argument for bringing in Mikey is compelling; given the Fil-Am, guard is now the most prolific scorer in the PBA. The fact that the pro league has freed up TNT’s schedule for the duration of the Fiba Asia Cup clears another hurdle for Mikey.
However, there is one problem.
When we asked the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas about the possibility, we learned it was no longer possible to bring in Mikey since Gilas is limited by the preliminary lineup that the SBP submitted to Fiba Asia organizers ‘months ago pa.’
That technicality that disqualified Williams, incidentally, all but ruled out the possibility of bringing in other players as Gilas reinforcements for the Fiba Asia Cup – Slaughter and Malonzo included.
Who is in that preliminary lineup? The SBP has yet to say.