Gilas III filled with role players who can win

Joey Villar, Nelson Beltran (Philstar.com) - September 21, 2015 - 3:44am

MANILA, Philippines – In a departure from the previous national teams comes the new Gilas Pilipinas squad composed of players with defined roles.

Whereas previous national quintets were filled with gunners, the current team is a balanced mix of players ready to play specific roles to achieve the goal of winning the Asian championship for the first time since 1986.

“The team is loaded with role players, and we’re well aware we’ll play different roles,” said Ranidel de Ocampo, among the team’s senior players.

Bogs Adornado, among the all-time greatest Filipino cagers, said such was the case during their time – the waning years of the golden era of the Philippines in the regional meet.

 “Tembong Melencio and Dave Regullano were good examples of role players in our time,” said Adornado.

“We don’t have much gunners but we’ll contend for the crown. We’re motivated and focused to go to Rio,” said De Ocampo on their resolve to rule the 2015 FIBA Asia Championship in Changsha and advance to the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil next year.

“We know what our roles are. There’s Gabe (Norwood) who knows he’ll defend the likes of Nikkhah Bahrami. Matt (Rosser) will do the same. Calvin (Abueva) will provide energy, Asi (Taulava) is our big brother/leader, from Sonny (Thoss) as a big man will come perimeter shooter,” De Ocampo pointed out.

“We’re lucky Ping (Marc Pingris) is with us. He’s a four guy who’s a veteran and experienced player. JC (Intal) is a big 3-point shooter who’s also a leaper. Jayson (Castro) and Terrence (Romeo) are both playmakers and scorers,” De Ocampo also said.

Then the veteran Gilas mainstay said they have a trump card in Andray Blatche.

With all the pieces completing Gilas III, De Ocampo is confident of improving on the country’s second-place finish in Manila in 2013.

“I don’t want to compare this team to the previous teams. They have served the country and it’s the turn of this team to serve. What I’m saying is that I don’t see any team now that can be considered ‘unbeatable,” said De Ocampo.

“All the teams are beatable, including Iran. We’ve actually beaten Iran thrice but not in the important games,” De Ocampo also said.

“It will happen at the right time. Who knows we’ll beat them in the game that really matters most in Changsha,” De Ocampo added.

De Ocampo, a stretch four or big forward who can nail three-pointers, was with Team Phl that beat Iran in the Jones Cup in 2007 and in 2012.

No Team Phl, however, has beaten Iran in the Asian meet from the 2007 FIBA Asia Championship in Tokushima.

De Ocampo’s message to Iran now – watch out for Gilas in Changsha.

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