SEABA:  2 PBL STANDOUTS  HEAD  NAT'L 5 POOL ,  RED BULL'S VILLANUEVA  IN A BIND

MANILA, MARCH 20, 2007
(STAR) By Nelson Beltran The Philippine Star 03/20/2007

Collegiate standouts JC Intal and Jojo Duncil head the 15-player roster named to the national team pool for the SEABA Champions Cup in Indonesia slated next month and the Southeast Asian Games in Thailand in December.

After a thorough deliberation with his fellow PBL coaches and in consultation with PBL commissioner Chino Trinidad and Harbour Centre owner Mikee Romero, head coach Junel Baculi released the list of the RP pool at the close of the three-day tryouts Sunday.

Joining Intal and Duncil in the pool are Jonathan Fernandez, Jeff Chan, Patrick Cabahug, Ryan Arana, Chad Alonzo, Doug Kramer, Larry Rodriguez, Eric Rodriguez, Al Magpayo, Beau Belga, Jason Castro, Marvin Cruz and Chico Lanete.

They will be presented at the PSA Sports Forum at Pantalan Restaurant in Luneta this morning.

All 15 players will go to Jakarta with the coaching staff to name the final 12 that will compose the Harbour Centre-RP squad after it has assessed the opposition.

The bulk of this roster is likely to remain for consideration for the SEA Games in December.

"For sure, there would be players in the list who will turn pro in September. We would then consider collegiate standouts as their replacement in the pool for the SEA Games," said Baculi.

Ken Bono, JR Quinahan, Yousif Aljamal are among those who snubbed the invitation to join the tryout.

Baculi instead got the two Rodriguezes, Alonzo, Kramer, Magpayo and Belga as his frontliners. Castro, Cruz and Lanete for the backcourt while Intal, Duncil, Fernandez, Chan, Cabahug and Arana in the wings.

With Intal, Kramer and others likely to be tapped in the pros in September, Baculi is looking at the likes of Jervy Cruz, Anthony Espiritu and Marcy Arellano as their replacements in the pool.

Villanueva torn between duties to flag or ballclub By Nelson Beltran The Philippine Star 03/20/2007

Enrico Villanueva couldnít be faulted if he sounds not too keen in getting a regular spot in the Philippine team roster to be sent to the SEABA championship in Thailand in May and the FIBA-Asia championship in Japan in July.

For Villanueva is in a bind and is likely to miss vital sessions of the RP team training as he needs to attend to his duties with mother club Red Bull in the PBA Fiesta Cup.

"Itís no problem attending two practices. My concern is joining the RP team not knowing what to do on the court since I have missed a lot of sessions" said Villanueva.

With his predicament, Villanueva said he wouldnít be surprised if he were to lose the spot to another player.

The 6-foot-5 behemoth said he also understands Red Bullís decision not to release him from the teamís roster in the ongoing PBA tourney. Red Bull is ready to loan Villanueva to the RP team only during the SEABA joust.

"Itís a tough position because I feel I may find it hard to adjust to the RP team system," said Villanueva.

Among the RP team activities he would likely miss is a two-week training in the AIB camp in Carson City, California. The Nationals are set to leave the country March 29.

RP team coach Chot Reyes is eyeing Villanueva to take over the spot of Rudy Hatfield who begged off from playing for the team due to conflict with his long-planned wedding.

Reyes is also looking to tap Sta. Lucia rookie Kelly Williams to replace Rafi Reavies as an RP team reserve.

In worst case scenario, Reyes said he might be forced to prepare an 11-man team for the SEABA tourney.

Villanueva said heís leaving his fate to the RP team coaching staff although he insists his desire to play for flag and country.

"Iíll continue to practice with my ball club and the RP team and just see what happens," said Villanueva.

The former Ateneo star has donned the national colors in the 1998 Asian youth championship in India and in last yearís FIBA-Asia Champions Cup in Manila.


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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