Saturday, July 28, 2007

Team Pilipinas starts Olympic quest as personalities and Nike Philippines (and the Quackroom) urge the nation to BELIEVE

So here is Team Pilipinas' final line-up:

1. Asi Taulava
2. Mark Caguioa
3. Danny Seigle
4. Jimmy Alapag
5. Dondon Hontiveros
6. Kelly Williams
7. Gabe Norwood
8. Kerby Raymundo
9. Jayjay Helterbrand
10. Mick Pennisi
11. Erik Menk
12. Renren Ritualo.

Yap, De Ocampo, Dela Cruz miss cut.

Just a few remarks ---> I knew they would not sacrifice Eric Menk because he could serve as an assurance just in case something happens (knock on wood) to Asi Taulava and Mick Pennisi,
i.e. foul trouble or God forbids, injuries. After his outstanding performance in the Jones Cup, I also felt that Kenny Williams is indispensable. Shoo-ins for me have always been Asi Taulava, our only burly big guy in the team and probably the one who has to work the hardest as he will face the "giants" of China, Korea, Lebanon, and other top contenders; Mark Caguioa, our spark plug and foremost go-to guy; Danny Seigle, another formidable option at the offensive end; Jimmy Alapag, one of Asia's best pure point guards who can be very deadly beyond the arc; Dondon Hontiveros, probably our own version of Bruce Bowen, NBA's Spurs' defense specialist who can shoot from the outside (minus the dirty tactics I'd like to believe); Renren Ritualo, our real, best pure shooter who might ultimately carry us in the tournament (although I believe he'll not start for the team; we'll always need something off the bench); and Gabe Norwood, this kid for some reason reminds me of Scottie Pippen and/or Tayshaun Prince; and make no mistake about it, given the right attitude and guidance, this Fil-Am can still blossom into a really great player in the future. I thought James Yap has a huge chance of making it, and Kerby Raymundo has been so-so at best, but I guess the coaching staff opted for more height than fire power --- and I am confident that Kerby can still deliver big-time for the team in whatever role Coach Chot Reyes assigns to him.

In the end, I believe hassle, speed, defense, outside shooting and consistency (both at the defensive and offensive ends) will be the keys -- with some lucky breaks and of course, a whole lot of prayers ---> Not to mention, that big, never-say-die, "laban-kung-laban" "Pinoy" heart and attitude!

Meanwhile, in opener, we face dangerous Iran bannered by 7-foot-5 giant Jaber Rouzbahani Darrehsari who "can grab the rim flat-footed and can dunk tipping only his toes". We
play defending champion China Monday and Jordan Tuesday.

In related development, PB
A Commissioner Noli Eala, BAP-Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas Executive Director Patrick Gregorio, former National Team members Alvin Patrimonio, Jeffrey Cariaso and Olsen Racela, RP Youth and De La Salle Head Coach Franz Pumaren, Team Pilipinas Assistant Coach and Ateneo Head Coach Norman Black, former Olympian Akiko Thomson, TV personalities Reema Chanco and Jinno Rufino, entertainers Francis Magalona and Michael V., sportscaster & triathlete Tricia Chiongbian, supermodel Tweetie de Leon, and trendsetter Tim Yap became the first high-profile personalities to show support to the Philippine Team by wearing the Limited Edition "Believer" shirt by Nike Philippines who "joins the numerous Filipinos who believe in Team Pilipinas". Through its limited edition “Believer” t-shirt, Nike hopes to encourage more people to show their support.

My prayers to our Team Pilipinas. All the best! Ipandila natin ang lahing ASTIG!

Photo above courtesy of Tom Epperson via FrancisM's a Free Mind and Mukamo Philippines.

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