Chot’s dilemma: Who’s in, who’s out?

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Chot’s dilemma: Who’s in, who’s out?

Post by Admin on Tue Jul 17, 2007 7:28 am

By Nelson Beltran

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

National
coach Chot Reyes is hard-pressed to name the final roster of the
SMC-Team Pilipinas with two injured players on the mend and two more
still to complete the needed travel documents for the FIBA-Asia Olympic
qualifier in Tokushima, Japan from July 28-Aug. 5.

Fil-Am ace Gabe Norwood has yet to complete
all the necessary papers for the trip while Kelly Williams, another
Fil-Am, applied for a Philippine passport only last Friday despite
being cleared earlier by the Bureau of Immigration and the Department
of Justice.

Danny Seigle and James Yap, meanwhile, are still hurting nine days before the team’s scheduled departure for Japan.

“We’re still in the same situation as
couples of days ago. It’s hard to announce the lineup because of many
variables. I just can’t do it even if the players themselves want to
know it now,” said Reyes.

But judging the way Reyes used his players
in the Jones Cup and in the Manila Invitationals, those who are
shoo-ins in the team are Asi Taulava, Jimmy Alapag, Mark Caguioa,
Dondon Hontiveros, Jayjay Helterbrand, Kerby Raymundo, Eric Menk, Mick
Pennisi and Williams.

Seigle missed the Jones Cup and the Manila Invitationals but he’s likely to be the team’s top gun in Tokushima. He said his injury is nothing serious.

Norwood is also a cinch for the team if only he could obtain an RP passport in time. Otherwise, Tony dela Cruz is expected to get his slot.

The last berth is a toss-up between Renren Ritualo and James Yap.

Reyes said he can afford to make more adjustments on player combinations as they play Kuwait in a pair of tuneup matches Friday and Saturday.

But whatever lineup he gets from the pool, Reyes is confident they can compete with any team in Tokushima. “We’ll be in full throttle in Japan.
With a little stroke of luck, we can win the championship,”said Reyes
at the close of the four-nation Manila Invitational where they beat Lebanon for the crown.

“Winning the Manila Invitational is a big
thing. It’s a big achievement as we earned it while playing with an
incomplete lineup,” said Reyes.

“We won with different guys coming through.
The only constant was Jimmy Alapag. But that’s the only position really
which we can dominate in the Asian championship. We have to dominate
the pointguard spot in Japan,” Reyes also said.

The team is appearing at the Japanese embassy at 3 p.m. this afternoon for interview on its visa application. After a two-day rest, the team is back in practice tomorrow.

“I’ve been almost sleepless for two weeks,”
said Reyes after completing a tough grind of 13 games in 14 days in the
Jones Cup and the Manila Invitational.
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