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Hontiveros: Dominant SMB starting 5 should play for Gilas

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Tapping the San Miguel Beer’s first five of Alex Cabagnot, Chris Ross, Arwind Santos, Marcio Lassiter and three-time league MVP Junemar Fajardo on Gilas duty will improve the national team’s chances in its Olympic bid.

This has been suggested by former Gilas player and FIBA Asia Championships silver medalist Dondon Hontiveros, and we are totally on board with it because familiarity is key to winning in international competition.

The Beermen recently clinched their historic third-straight Philippine Cup crown after thrashing last season’s Governor’s Cup titlist Ginebra San Miguel in five games.

In addition, San Miguel ruled the league in four of the last seven seasons with the same five on the floor.

Chemistry is a perennial problem for Gilas throughout the years because of a loaded PBA schedule, so familiarity will not be a problem for if San Miguel 5 decides to suit up for Gilas.

As it is, Gilas merely trains a couple of months prior to the competition.

“As the most dominant team the past three years, how about letting the five starters of SMB play for GiLas. Special case like 1994?,” Hontiveros, a three-time PBA champion who also played for San Miguel, said.

Hontiveros was referring to the 1994 Asian Games when the San Miguel starting five led by future Philippine basketball legends Allan Caidic, Ato Agustin and Hector Calma were tapped to national duty alongside non-Beermen players Alvin Patrimonio, Kenneth Duremdes, Marlou Aquino and Johnny Abarrientos.

The 1994 squad, however, fell vs. powerhouse China in the semifinals, 74-95 and lost the Battle for Bronze medal vs. the taller Japanese squad in a close 76-79. (Alex Cerado)