The Philippine National Men’s Basketball team will once again have the services of Jayson Castro and Troy Rosario in their campaign to qualify for the 2019 FIBA World Cup in China.
Castro and Rosario have been named in the line-up of Gilas Pilipinas for their game against Iran at the SM Mall of Asia Arena, Pasay City on Monday, Dec. 03.
The two veterans of Gilas Pilipinas make their return after serving the three-game suspension imposed on them by the International Basketball Federation (FIBA). The sanction is due to their involvement in the in-game brawl between the Philippine team and the Australian team last July at the Philippine Arena in Bulacan.
Aside from Castro and Rosario, Arwind Santos will also be making his comeback to the national team after nine years. The last time that the 37-year old forward played in an international tournament was during the 2009 FIBA Asia Championship in Tianjin, China.
Meanwhile, Christian Standhardinger will be replacing Stanley Pringle as the naturalized player of Gilas Pilipinas.
The 12-man line-up also includes Japeth Aguilar, Beau Belga, June Mar Fajardo, Marcio Lassiter, Gabe Norwood, L.A. Tenorio, Scottie Thompson, and Matthew Wright.
Speaking to reporters after their practice on Sunday, Dec. 02, at the SM Mall of Asia Arena, national team coach Joseller ‘Yeng’ Guiao explained that they decided to sacrifice the size of Greg Slaughter in exchange for quick players.
According to Guiao, the Philippine team lacked quickness when they lose against Kazakhstan, 92-88, last Friday, Nov. 30 at SM Mall of Asia Arena.
“We couldn’t recover quick enough to challenge the three point shots especially kung yung bigs yung tumitira kaya kailangan pa natin ng kunting quickness pa ngayon,” Guiao told the press.
“We learned this from the past game, it is not size per se. Kailangan yung size natin, aside from being big, you should also be strong and quick. Sila malaki sila pero hindi lang sila malaki. Skilled sila, mabilis sila, malakas sila,” Guiao added.
Guiao also said that he included Santos and Rosario in the line-up since they can replace Norwood in guarding Iran’s Hamed Haddadi, a former NBA player. The coach added that he made this preparation even amidst reports that Haddadi and Sahmad Nikkah Bahrami will not be playing in the Monday game.
Meanwhile, Santos expressed excitement and gratitude to once again play for the national team even with his age. He along with Rosario also welcomes the challenge given to them by Guiao of guarding Haddadi.
“Na-miss ko rin mag-laro sa national team. Mabuti nga at nakabalik ako. Iyon talaga ang pinasasalamat ko,” Santos said.
“It’s time to bounce back after ng loss sa Kazakhstan para makuha rin yung panalo,” Rosario said.
Castro also voiced his excitement and seeks to provide leadership, as one of the veterans of Gilas Pilipinas.
“At the same time tulungan kung ano man aspect nung kailangan itulong sa game versus Iran, which is sobrang importante sa atin,” Castro told reporters.