Gilas Pilipinas coach Yeng Guiao had a hard time choosing the Final 12 of the national team which will represent the country in the coming FIBA World Cup in China late this month.
The biggest reason for that was the impressive performance displayed by rookies CJ Perez and Robert Bolick, two former rivals in the NCAA, who are now rookie standouts in the PBA.
“Kaya mahirap yung decision. The reason also na na-delay yung decision, we want our decisions to be validated. The two games against Australia was a validation,” Guiao told FOX Sports Philippines in an exclusive interview.
“Kung nagmamadali kami at madali yung decision, even before the Australia game, the Final 12 had already been named. Mahirap talaga, especially when we saw the rookies played in Spain and here in the last two games against Australia.”
Perez, the promising newcomer from the Columbian Dyip, and Bolick, the talented guard from North Port, had impressed Guiao and the rest of the Gilas coaching staff.
The rookies made a strong case of their inclusion in the series of tune up matches in Spain and again proved their worth in the last two exhibition matches against the Adelaide 36ers, an Australian club team coached by former PBA import Joey Wright.
“From what we’ve seen in Spain, what we’ve seen in practice and what we’ve seen in the last two games against the Australian club team, wala silang takot. The attitude CJ Perez displays, ability-wise he’s very impressive. Personality-wise, he’s quiet, but he has that sense of determination,” Guiao said.
“Makikita mo hindi siya takot. Kung mag-drive siya, umatake siya, mga seven-footer nga inaatake niya, wala siyang takot. That’s the kind of quality you’ll need in the World Cup.”
Perez averaged 10 points in the last two games they played the Aussies.
Bolick, on the other hand, had displayed maturity when it comes to playing the guard spot.
“Ganun rin si Bolick. No wonder, sila yung magkalabang mortal sa NCAA. We saw it was a great rivalry. Same thing with CJ, si Bolick rin, wala rin siyang takot. Normally, rookie guards are somewhat tentative, but you could praise Bolick’s poise. He doesn’t panic and he plays like a veteran,” added Guiao.
Bolick averaged seven points in the last two games versus Australia, but was able to keep a hold of the Gilas Piipinas squad.