AFTER  WIN,  RP  TEAM  REVAMP  LOOMS

BANGKOK, THAILAND, MAY 27, 2007
(BULLETIN) By waylon galvez - Willie Miller and a pair of Fil-American players are being considered to reinforce the national team preparing for the FIBA-Asia Menís Championship set late July in Tokushima, Japan.

Kelly Williams of Sta. Lucia Realty and Gave Norwood, who played for George Mason University, may also be called to service depending on their availability.

A meeting will be held Thursday to evaluate the final composition of the national team. In attendance are PBA chairman Ricky Vargas, Commissioner Noli Eala, Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas executive director Patrick Gregorio, RP team manager Robert Non and national coach Chot Reyes.

Miller would bring instant offense to the backcourt while Williams and Norwood would add muscle and athleticism, areas that need improvement.

Two new assistant coaches would be appointed to the team and the names of Joel Banal, Jong Uichico, Binky Favis and Alfrancis Chua were mentioned. A doctor would be assigned to the national team, and possibly a nutritionist.

Lastly, proposed foreign trips to Belgrade and Qatar, preparatory to Tokushima, the qualifier to the Beijing Olympics next year, might be scrapped in favor of the nine-games-in-nine days William Jones Cup in Taiwan where China, Korea, Taiwan and Japan will be playing.

"I think that would be a more attractive tournament," said Eala, who minced no words on the imperativeness of change within the team which ran roughshod over the SEABA competition by an average margin of 38.5 points.

"Although winning restores our confidence after Tehran, this is not the time to celebrate or be complacent," he said. "Thereís still much room for improvement, especially in the scouting of opponents, the strengthening and conditioning of the players, and the composition of the coaching staff."

Eala said they will "regroup" in Manila "to plot whatís best" for the team.

"While I donít want to second-guess coach Chot, the training program, I feel, needs to be more focused on areas of weaknesses which I donít think would be addressed by the planned trips to Belgrade and Qatar," he said. "A balance has to be struck."

Gregorio, appointed to the SBP post only weeks ago, said two major concerns needed to be analyzed the significance of the foreign trips and the conditioning and focus of the team.

"While winning the SEABA is a wonderful gift, the best is yet to come," he said.

Non went to specifics in identifying points of attention: Mental preparedness, conditioning, and total team effort.

"There should be no superstar in this team," he said. "Everybody should accept the role assigned to him."

Among those painfully exposed during the weeklong battle with overmatched opponents from Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand were the all-pro teamís slow starts, difficulty defending quick-moving offenses, generally unremarkable outside shooting (except for Renren Ritualoís 9 of 12 three-pointers against Malaysia), and ball movement woes.

"Weíre not necessarily saying that players had to be changed," Eala stressed. "But if thereís a need to augment the lineup, especially if we have players not performing as expected, then this should be considered."

The SMC-RP squad returns home Tuesday, with the uncertainty of the near future hovering over it and the promise of an Olympic experience a bit farther in realization.


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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