Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) Chairman and President Manny V. Pangilinan believes the reason of the exclusion of Calvin Abueva and LA Tenorio in the 12-man line up of Gilas Pilipinas national team for the FIBA Olympic Qualifying tournament is the height and sheer size of their opponents.
Pangilinan explained there are no questions on the capability of the hardworking forward Abueva of Alaska and the point guard Tenorio of Ginebra since they have the talent and the heart to represent the country in any overseas tournaments.
“Well before that decision arrived, I was talking with team manager Butch Antonio and sometimes even with coach Tab [Baldwin] to find out how they were progressing and to know who is doing well not doing well,” the telecommunication mogul Pangilinan told The Manila Times in an interview.
“They’ve spent a lot of days in Greece and they’ve seen the Turkish team, the Italian team although we will not play them in the qualifiers, and then Canada which we will face if we reach the semifinals,” added Pangilinan. “They experienced how fast, strong and accurate those countries are.”
The Philippines, with the other two host nations Italy and Serbia, will simultaneously host the 2016 FIBA Olympic Qualifying tournament scheduled on July 5 to 10. Only the champions of the three qualifiers will qualify to Rio Olympics set on August 5 to 21.
The Manila qualifiers will be played at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City.
“It is a difficult choice to be made for anyone specially to coach Tab Baldwin, but a decision must be made. It is not easy to decide, so we chose two things, the height and the size,” said Pangilinan. “No judgment on the capability of LA and Calvin. They are good players.”
He said the two players were relegated to the reserve list and they could be activated if someone gets hurt during the tournament.
“If we will be only allowed to field 14 players, we will include them. They can still be candidates in the other next tournaments although Gilas cadet is the main priority.”
The players selected are guard Bobby Ray Parks, guard Jeff Chan of Rain or Shine, combo guard Terrence Romeo of GlobalPort, guard Ryan Reyes of Talk ‘N Text, guard Jayson Castro of Talk ‘N Text, forward Ranidel De Ocampo of Talk ‘N Text, forward Troy Rosario of Talk ‘N Text, center June Mar Fajardo of San Miguel Beer, Jean Marc Pingris of Star Hotshots, Gabe Norwood of Rain or Shine, Japeth Aguilar of Ginebra and naturalized Filipino center Andray Blatche.