Imports Gilas Pilipinas may consider as Blatche replacement
Andray Blatche is nothing but a mere shadow of his old deadly player. In the ongoing Fiba World Cup in China, it can be shown that Blatche is now a completely different player from the one that carried Gilas Pilipinas to close battles in the 2014 Basketball World Cup in Spain.
Against Italy, Blatch scored 15 points but was hobbled with 9 turnovers. And against Serbia, the former NBA player fouled out of the game and finished with only 5 points, making discussion for replacing him open.
Here are 4 players Gilas Pilipinas may consider tapping as naturalized player in the future.
Chris McCollough burst into the Philippine basketball scene after saving the San Miguel Beermen’s Commissioner’s Cup campaign, leading into a 4-2 Finals win over TNT for the title.
He has signified his desire to play for Gilas in the middle of San Miguel’s conference and it hasn’t changed now.
With a lot of talented bigmen in the likes of Junemar Fajardo, Japeth Aguilar, Poy Erram, Raymond Almazan, and in the future, Kai Sotto and AJ Edu, the Philippines can afford to tap a naturalized player that can play the wing or guard position. That is what McCollough can offer in the table. He has the speed, size, wingspan and athleticism of an NBA-caliber shooting guard and a small forward.
In September 2017, the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas began the process of including Austin in their men’s national basketball team, to be considered as a naturalized player in the future. He suited up as an import for hurriedly patched up Chooks-to-Go Pilipinas club at the 2017 FIBA Asia Champions Cup. They finished the tournament in fifth place, with the 7’1 Austin averaging 20 points, 13 rebounds and 3 blocks per game.
Austin can play the power forward position given his agility. He can play the stretch four position with Fajardo manning the center position. Austin can also knock down three-pointers.
The multiple-time Barangay Ginebra import is listed at 6’7” and has led the team to three championships. He has the athleticism and outside touch to replicate Blatche’s production , but could provide energy that the former NBA player can no longer give. Brownlee could slot in beside Fajardo at power forward, and can even play the guard and wing position. At 31 years old though, he doesn’t have a long shelf life in terms of service to the national team.
The 2019 PBA Commissioner’s Cup best import Terrence Jones dominated Asia’s first play for pay league and catapulted TNT KaTropa to the Finals. The former Houston Rockets forward normed for 30.2 points, 15.7 rebounds, 7.5 assists, 1.5 steals, and 2.8 blocks per game in his first PBA stint. At 27, Jones is still young and can definitely play until the next Foiba World Cup in 2023 when the Philippines host the tournament with Thailand and Japan. Jones has the tenacity, can knock down long bombs and can distribute the ball.