The Philippines will have a basketball team to cheer for in the 2018 Asian Games.
The SBP reversed course and decided to field a basketball team in the men's tournament. Now the team has less than two weeks to prepare for the start of competition.
The backbone of the 14-man lineup is comprised mostly of the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters -- Gabe Norwood, Raymond Almazan, Beau Belga, James Yap, Chris Tiu, and Maverick Ahanmisi.
NLEX Road Warriors head coach Yeng Guiao, the winningest coach in Rain or Shine history, will be leading the squad.
The team also includes Blackwater Elite's JP Erram, Magnolia Hotshots' Paul Lee, San Miguel's Christian Standhardinger, GlobalPort's Stanley Pringle, TNT's Don Trollano, NLEX's Asi Taulava, and Gilas Cadets Ricci Rivero and Kobe Paras.
The roster of 14 players will be trimmed to 12 before leaving for Indonesia.
The temptation when looking at this roster is to judge them based on the team chemistry -- many of them have played together at one point or another.
Of course, there's the Rain or Shine core. Even if they saw success in the Commissioner's Cup mainly because of their import, there is a solid dynamic between Norwood, Yap, Almazan, Belga, Tiu, and Ahanmisi. Lee will be able to blend well with the group considering some of them are former teammates and Guiao is a former coach.
Standhardinger, meanwhile, can provide a lot of different things. He doesn't need to have the ball to be effective, can knock down midrange jumpers, and can run the court. He's a pesky defender who can help create turnovers.
Pringle is another proven scoring guard, similar to Lee, who can manufacture offense at will, and can break down the defense easily with his slashing.
Erram will be a big boost up front, as he was arguably the best player in the Elite's Philippine Cup campaign with averages of 14.2 points, 13.5 rebounds, 2.2 assists and 2.9 blocks. The young duo of Paras and Rivero can bring a lot of energy off the bench and gives the team some speed and length and more options in transition offense. Trollano and Taulava, meanwhile, will provide toughness and grit.
In the end, the decision to go with the core of Rain or Shine was the right one, considering the limited time left before leaving for Indonesia, as well as the familiarity and chemistry on the squad.