Lee, Dillinger, Blatche named to Gilas Asian Games team

Lee, Dillinger, Blatche named to Gilas Asian Games team
Updated 13 August 2014

Lee, Dillinger, Blatche named to Gilas Asian Games team

Lee, Dillinger, Blatche named to Gilas Asian Games team

MANILA: Paul Lee, the most impressive player for Gilas Pilipinas in the Fiba-Asia Cup in Wuhan, China, last month, pierced the national team lineup that will be shooting for the gold medal in the Asian Games next month.
No less than Gilas coach Chot Reyes made the announcement through his twitter account @coachot on Wednesday afternoon, as he dropped the 36-year-old Jimmy Alapag from the lineup together with Marcus Douthit and Larry Fonacier.
Jared Dillinger, the defensive-minded Meralco off-guard, will take the place of Fonacier in the team, while Andray Blatche, the Brooklyn Net in the National Basketball Association, will be the Philippines’ naturalized player in Inchon, South Korea.
Blatche, who can more or less offset Iranian center Hamed Haddadi in Korea, was naturalized less than two months ago and has, in fact, been with the Philippine team for the last three weeks, counting their rigorous two-week training stint in Miami.
While he declared the inclusion of the trio to the Asian Games roster, Reyes did not divulge the names that will play for the Philippines in the World Cup in Spain before the end of this month.
The World Cup comes almost a full month before the Asian Games, and the way Reyes divulged the lineup for the Games only fuelled speculations that he will be sticking with the group that punched the World Cup ticket for the Philippines.
Team Philippines won over South Korea in the Final Four of the World Qualifying joust in Manila a year ago, ending close to three decades of heartache against the Koreans.
The Filipinos eventually lost the gold medal match against Haddadi and the Iranians, but the silver medal they won in front of a boisterous hometown crowd glittered more like gold for this basketball-crazy nation.
And the hard work put in by those 12 intrepid men — including Douthit who sat out most of the title game against the Iranians because of a leg injury — could be what Reyes is considering why he hasn’t released the World Cup lineup until now.
Lee, though, is expected to play in Spain to take the place of Fonacier, who begged off from further national team duty, citing the need to recover from several injuries after playing non-stop in the PBA and internationally for the last four years.
The 6-foot wingman made a grand impression in his first international stint in Wuhan, hitting three free throws with no time left against the host Chinese in an 80-79 victory in their bronze medal match.
Meanwhile, Kevin Alas, Matt Ganuelas and Jake Pascual, members of the Gilas cadet program, declared themselves available for the coming PBA Draft set for Aug 24.
Their inclusion has more or less assured that guards will dominate selections in the proceedings with Fil-Ams Stanley Pringle and Chris Banchero likely to dispute No. 1 and Alas tipped to be tabbed as high as third overall.
Of those who were expected to declare — and are believed to be ripe for the pros — only Garvo Lanete and Bobby Ray Parks have held out, with Lanete, the sweet-shooting San Beda guard, opting to stay in the amateur ranks for another year.
Lanete is one of the stalwarts of the NLEX Road Warriors team that won six of the first seven conferences played in the D-League, but he declared that he will hold out just a few hours before the Wednesday deadline to “further hone my game.”
Parks, son of the late, great seven-time PBA Best Import Bobby Parks, is reportedly in the United States and will try his luck to make it to the NBA.
The younger Parks won a UAAP MVP with the National University Bulldogs and had several stints as a national player, counting one which won the gold medal in the 2011 Southeast Asian Games in Jakarta, Indonesia.