MANILA,  November 15, 2004 (STAR) THE GAME OF MY LIFE By Bill Velasco - It appears that many readers are tired of the embarrassment the Philippines has experienced in international basketball competition, and would like nothing more than to see it end. Many reacted to last Saturdayís piece on potential players for the next Philippine team.

There was a general consensus on three items. First, the head coach should be chosen and the team should be formed immediately. Second, the banishment of alleged fake Fil-Ams will make it more difficult but noble to form a team with pure "homegrown" talent. Third, naturally, other players should have been on my list.

Hereís what The Starís readers had to say:

Henry G. ( begins with the following call.

"It is very important that our national team be formed immediately so that they can start gelling as a team and be very cohesive once the ABC/Asian games begin. It will be a big achievement already for the PBA-RP team to win second or third place since I donít think there is any Asian team who can beat China and Yao Ming."

"Jao" at says, "If Asi isnít cleared up to play...weíd be in big trouble (Why are we throwing away players who want to be Pinoys when other countries are recruiting foreigners to acquire local citizenships just to play for Ďem...bummer. Ewing and Duncan are not from the US, and yet they play for the US."

He would add Dondon Hontiveros, Jeff Cariaso and Mark Caguioa in the backcourt and Marlou Aquino and Romel Adducul to the frontline.

Joel Reyes (, asks "How about Dynamite Danny Seigle. Iím not an SMB fan but I must admit, if he didnít get injured in a practice game just before the Asian Games in 2002, we had a much better chance of grabbing the gold medal in Busan. It still brings bitter memories. I just hope I can witness in my lifetime, the RP squad, whether in the ABC or the Asian games claim the top spot. But come to think of it, if we won in Busan, that finish couldíve been shrouded in doubt with Asi Taulava now in the midst of a deportation battle. Now we can be sure that all 12 players donning the blue and red jerseys will really be true Filipinos."

Another reader who requested anonymity adds: "Looking at the list, we see the absence of quality big men in the PBA today, comparable to the centers and power forwards of China, Korea, Kazakhstan and even Jordan. I would still include Dennis Espino instead of PeŮa and Reavis for the center position. His experience and good basketball sense will be a great asset to the team. However, the lack of depth in the center position will be one of the weaknesses of this team. If only Marlou Aquino plays as hard as he should, he could be the starting center of this team particularly with the suspension and possible departure of Asi Taulava. Yancy de Ocampo is the next logical choice for the center spot due to his height, but he too likes to play outside and lacks the imposing presence of a Taulava."

Meanwhile, Nelson Dy declares, "The way I see it, especially during the Athens Olympics, USA was beaten because teams from Argentina, Lithuania and other countries who displayed excellent shooting skills (3pts and perimeter from small to big guys), teamwork, defense. If US can be beaten, so can China and South Korea.

Nelson recommends adding De La Salleís Mark Cardona and Far Eastern Universityís Arwind Santos for defense.

In terms of other additions, Jonathan Perez believes that Mike Cortez and Sonny Thoss of Alaska and John Arigo (just traded from Alaska to Coca-Cola) should crack the line-up. He makes special mention of Welcoat Paintsís 6í6" Anthony Washington, whom he would play at small forward.

"His talent may be a little less known but basing it on the few games that he has played in the Philippine Basketball League, I think he can fill in the void left by Rudy Hatfield, with a two-inch plus in size," Perez explains. "He is a scorer, a force to reckon with inside and has a decent outside perimeter shooting. He is agile for his height."

Regular reader Cromwell Manongdo from Bakersfield, California writes: "John Arigo could be in there, too, as a two- or three-spot player. Heís fast and has the range to bomb opponents. Hustles a lot, too. Jun Limpotís pro career is nowhere close to his sterling amateur career. He has always done good in international competition and I donít see why he canít be this time. He has the moves and perimeter game to be a factor. Can shoot the three, too."

From Bergenfield, New Jersey, former Crispa fan Noel Mandap gives his two centsí worth.

"Erick Menk, Danny Seigle, Danny Ildefonso, Jimmy Alapag, Willie Miller, Ren-Ren Ritualo, Dorian PeŮa, Nick Belasco, Mark Caguioa, Kenneth Duremdes, Dennis Espino and Dondon Hontiveros. I guess with this lineup we have a balance team, good height, speed, shooters, slashers, great ball handlers and youth.

If you have more opinions, e-mail this writer through

Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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