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Teng, Riveros perfect fit for Gilas — La Salle official
Ricci Rivero, Jeron Teng and Prince Rivero
MANILA, Philippines — When the Gilas cadets were formed last year, the core of the team included players of the 2015 UAAP Men’s basketball champions, the FEU Tamaraws, namely Mac Belo, Mike Tolomia, RR Pogoy Russell Escoto.
This year, with the PBA teams sending one player each as per agreement with the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas, two surprise names stood out. Phoenix center Norbert Torres and Mahindra spitfire guard LA Revilla joined San Miguel center Arnold Van Opstal as a “reunion” of the 2013 La Salle champion team.
Other players with La Salle connection are NLEX center Alfonso Gotladera, who played with the Taft-based school for two years before transferring to Ateneo, and Meralco swingman Jonathan Grey, who suited up for College of St. Benilde in the NCAA.
Emmanuel Calanog, executive director of La Salle's Office of Sports Development, recently reiterated that the school remains a steady source of players for the national team.
“I am not surprised that Norbert was considered in the pool because we all know that there are a few big men in the country and he already had previous experience representing Gilas Cadets during the SEA Games in Singapore," he said.
"I was more surprised with Revilla that he was one of the options. In terms of skills, it is already there, although the problem was his illness (diabetes that affects his muscles that forced him to skip some UAAP seasons) but I am glad that they are both doing well in the PBA,” added Calanog.
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He also said that “Gotladera and Grey were also added because based on the Gilas coaching staffs’ evaluation, age was a consideration since the pool was leading into the 2019 FIBA World Cup. Unlike before, in previous squads when Alvin Patrimonio and Allan Caidic, when they were in their mid-30’s, were included in national teams.
"They were good, but we need constant changes in terms of developing the younger players.”
Asked if who among the members of the 2016 La Salle champion team can be considered an option for Gilas in the future, he replied: “Definitely Jeron Teng. Prince Rivero can be a force underneath. Ricci Rivero has a mold like Jeron. Skills-wise he needs to build up though. Justine Baltazar and Ricci Rivero are just freshmen and have definitely good upsides.”
Other La Salle players who have also played for previous Gilas squads are JV Casio and Almond Vosotros.