The Future: Picking possible Gilas Cadets wingmen

In one of my previous articles, I listed down several players who could really do some good if they were part of the Gilas Cadets program full time. I’ll do the same thing again here, but this time I’ll focus on some of the most talented wingmen outside of the PBA. 

If ever they do choose to go the Gilas route, these talented cagers will be perpetually available to the national team. No more scheduling conflicts. No issues about who would foot the medical bill or whether they have to be worried about a PBA game that just finished or is just about to begin.

Wouldn’t it be fascinating if we could return to that system — if the Gilas Cadets program that was revived for last year’s SEA Games and SEABA tourneys was made the default Gilas Pilipinas program after this year’s #FIBAOQT?

Read: The Future: Picking possible Gilas Cadets point guards

Here are my choices for top wingmen who could temporarily forego the PBA in favor of the national colors.

Matthew Wright

This Fil-Canadian first wore the Philippine kit when he was part of the youth team in 2009 as part of a trio of Fil-foreigner reinforcements (the other 2 were Norbert Torres and Kyle Pascual, both of whom are in the PBA already).

Wright matriculated in the US NCAA for St. Bonaventure and played in Europe before returning to Asia to play for coach Ariel Vanguardia in the ASEAN Basketball League.

Needless to say, he has been doing great. He set the league record for 3-pointers made in a single game (10), and has been nothing less of a constant onslaught. He has great size, speed, and shooting for the international game, and he would be just absolutely perfect for Gilas.

Read: Kiefer Ravena’s dilemma: PBA or Gilas Cadets?

Bobby Ray Parks, Jr.

Parks hasn’t exactly been turning a lot of heads in the NBA D-League for the Texas Legends, but the 2-time UAAP MVP is still a wonderful manifestation of God-given basketball talent. Like Wright, Parks has great size for the international game, and he can play three positions with a high level of effectiveness.

His outside shot was still inconsistent last time I checked, but his athleticism is a rarity in these parts. With the right coach (which we already have anyway) and in the right system, Parks can be a game-changing addition to Gilas.

Read: Will Jio Jalalon, Kevin Ferrer prioritize Gilas cadets over PBA?

Kevin Ferrer

At around 6-foot-5 and with a deadly outside shot, Ferrer is textbook perfect for the international game. His handles, court vision, and rebounding are mediocre by FIBA standards, but put him alongside a couple of solid bigs and a great point guard, and he can do wonders.

Mac Belo

Belo was a tweener forward for FEU in the UAAP, but he will be too small to play the 4 spot internationally, which means he’ll slide in as a small forward. That presents a couple of problems — his handles aren’t strong and his outside shooting isn’t consistent, but, still, given his energy and varied skill-set, he should still be in prime consideration.

Read: Road to Rio: Gilas plans to play Italy ahead of Olympic qualifiers

CJ Perez

Picture someone with Calvin Abueva’s size and skill-set but without Calvin Abueva’s wild child approach to the game, and you’ve got CJ Perez. He’s a do-it-all guy who will be a tremendously productive player on both ends of the floor. He’ll need to sharpen his sniping, but apart from that, he should be a great fit.

Jeron Teng

Teng is really a face up power forward who is at least 3 inches too short. His jumper mechanics remain awkward and he can’t really bring up the basketball as well as other wingmen, but his ability to just barrel through any type of defense is a rarity in itself. He’s also a proven winner, which is an intangible that should serve the Gilas Cadets well.

Read: Road to Rio: Gilas plans to play Italy ahead of Olympic qualifiers

RR Pogoy 

Pogoy’s stock shot up after playing a big role in FEU’s title romp in Season 78, and he remains a deceptively good wingman who can be potentially helpful for Gilas. He is known for his outside shooting, but his attacking game and defense are pretty lethal, too. If only he had better handles, he would be a pretty good fit at SG in the international game.

Kobe Paras

I just saw him drop 43 points in a high school game in the States. His jumper seems to have improved, and he looks more aggressive attacking the basket. I still think there’s a lot of untapped potential here, and that’s why I think he will benefit tremendously from being part of the Gilas pool. I mean, just imagine how much he’ll learn from Coach Tab. He’s as close to a homegrown NBA talent as we’ll ever have.

Read: Andray Blatche arriving in May to reinforce Gilas in OQT buildup

Other possible Gilas Cadets prospects:

Dwight Ramos – 6-foot-5 swingman Fil-Am from Walnut HS. Guys, watch out for this kid. Seryoso.

Jordan Heading – Taiwan-raised Fil-Aussie who used to play for the Energen Pilipinas Youth Team and now is in the US NCAA Div. 2.

Rey Nambatac – Letran’s star wingman. Awesome scorer but, at just 5-foot-10, may be too small to even be SG.

Thirdy Ravena – Great size at the wing spot and amazing athleticism, but are those enough to compensate for his inconsistent shooting?

Jaydee Tungcab – This Laguna-bred kid could be the future main man for Adamson, and his slashing game can be of use to Gilas, too.

Bon-Bon Batiller – Tenacious defender and fearless attacker. He was UE’s surprise package this past season, and he can be a Ronald Tubid-type of player at the next level.

DJ Fenner – Mysterious Fil-Am prospect who plays for the Nevada Wolf Pack in the US NCAA, averaging 13 points and 5 assists. Hey, he MUST be good, right? — By Enzo Flojo


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