I saw this in the SPIN.PH YouTube channel.
Alfrancis Chua and Ricky Vargas were in front of the reporters as they shared Gilas Pilipinas' hits and misses before their Asian Games gold medal.
It's nice that the 16 players who played for the country were hellbent on offering their services. While yeah, CJ Perez had to cut his vacation short after a so-so stint in the 2023 FIBA World Cup, I guess he realized that it's his purpose to represent the country.
And, look at him now.
CJ is one of 12 players to break the country's 61-year gold medal drought.
However, Chua and Vargas also had this spicy info about two players who could have been part of the team. These players offered their services with monetary gains in mind and they lost out on the chance of rewriting history.
So who are these players?
Like Chua and Vargas, I am not going to name names.
However, I guess these two players just wanted to be practical. Again, the events that transpired after the World Cup was the situation Gilas Pilipinas was in. Chot Reyes just left the coaching position and almost half of their players have returned to their overseas teams.
And it's not like this is solely a Gilas problem - as the same can be said with Japan, China, Iran, and Lebanon - who completely shrugged off the tournament because most of their players have gone to their overseas squads. If a ragtag core with a bleak outlook is forcing you to spend time and effort to merely participate, then a person is going to make sure that his financial side is covered. This is why most Team USA players are either second-stringers or are still in their rookie contracts and why most European NBA players would rather skip the FIBA tournaments.
This is why the Asian Games squad is revered by many.
Sure, guys like Chris Ross, Marcio Lassiter, and Arvin Tolentino received their gold medals without seeing a bit of action but I bet they did their best during practice as well as uplifting their braders when they felt that all was lost and they were faced with an impossible task. The same can also be said with Calvin Abueva, Terrence Romeo, Mo Tautuaa, and Stanley Pringle who were able to help the squad as best as they could despite the circumstances.
How dare we tell these players that they are "benchwarmers" when they are there to help the squad because the other players were thinking of the other benefits?
Anyway, I think I like Alfrancis Chua now. Well, I was a fan of his when he was leading the Stag Pale Pilseners/ Tanduay Rhum Masters in the PBL but since he went "one-man GM mode" on the SMC teams, I liked his style a lot less.
With that said, if the SMC and MVP alliance would continue in the foreseeable future and he can personally call the players to heed the call of flag and country, then he might be the right man for the job.
Finally, we get the rationale behind the farm teams!
I know I need to continue hating this but if this develops into a more foolproof plan to get the best results regardless of lineups, then this is going to be a fun ride en route to the 2027 FIBA World Cup.