Gilas allowed to replace Blatche with Douthit for Asiad
The Incheon Asian Games Organizing Committee stood firm on its decision to block Andray Blatche’s entry to the Philippine team for the Asian Games but allowed Marcus Douthit to come in as a replacement, along with Jimmy Alapag who’s taking over from the injury-hit Jayson Castro.
The Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas, through the representation of Philippine Sports Commission chairman Richie Garcia and SBP consultant Moying Martelino, also got an extra concession from IAGOC, allowing them another change in their lineup during the team managers meeting on Sept. 19.
With these words from Incheon Thursday night, SBP president Manny V. Pangilinan declared Gilas Pilipinas will fight on in the Asian Games.
“It’s not bad,” said SBP vice chairman Ricky Vargas on the news they heard from Garcia and Martelino.
“The players have been in a long journey and they want to play. Majority of the Filipino people want us to play. And so Mr. MVP said ‘laban,’” said Vargas.
The SBP officials believe Gilas Pilipinas also stands a good chance to win a medal with Douthit, the original Gilas naturalized player who’ve been into two FIBA Asia Championships.
“Douthit’s long been with Gilas. He’s been practicing with the team even with the entry of Andray Blatche. Douthit brings chemistry to the team,” said Vargas.
The SBP people thought with their strong message sent to the Olympic Council of Asia leadership, they’re able to get an acceptable compromise with IAGOC.
“They stood pat on their decision, saying Blatche is definitely out. But they softened a bit through the representation of Richie (Garcia) and Moying (Martelino) plus the letter of appeal of MVP,” said Vargas.
“I think the compromise is good. We’re afraid Douthit would not be allowed,” Vargas also said.
The SBP vice chair said they were really seriously considering to withdraw their participation from the Asiad.
“If not for the players and their confidence, we would have second thoughts (on joining),” Vargas pointed out.
Other possible changes in the lineup could be made with injuries to Marc Pingris and Paul Lee.
"If they say their okay, then baka wala ng palitan," said Vargas.
Ranidel de Ocampo, Junmar Fajardo, Japeth Aguilar, Gabe Norwood, Jeff Chan, Gary David, LA Tenorio and Jared Dillinger are the other players in the lineup of the team that will try to improve on the sixth-place finish of Team Phl in Guangzhou, China in 2010.
The country has not won an Asiad basketball medal of any color since the Philippine Centennial Team, under coach Tim Cone, copped the bronze in the 1998 Bangkok Games.
Source:The Philippine Star
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