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Alapag marvels at Gilas size, talent

Jimmy Alapag will play a more valuable role as he now moves up to the NBA.

The former leader of Gilas Pilipinas sees a promising performance for the new breed of players who will be campaigning in the FIBA Basketball World Cup from 25 August to 10 September.

Jimmy Alapag said Gilas Pilipinas is overflowing with talent with the right size and athleticism in practically all positions.

Now the Sacramento Kings’ developmental coach, Alapag, who will now report directly under head coach Mike Brown, served as the hero of the Gilas squad that plucked the silver medal in dramatic fashion in the 2013 FIBA Asia Men’s Championship at the Mall of Asia Arena.

With that feat, the national cagers made a return to the World Championships for the first time since 1978.

“I think this Gilas team has a lot of talent together with some size and athleticism at different positions,” Alapag told Daily Tribune in an online exchange.

Alapag, in particular, is referring to the possible tandem of 7-foot-3 Kai Sotto and 6-foot-10 AJ Edu as well as the presence of 6-foot-10 June Mar Fajardo and 6-foot-9 Japeth Aguilar.

Naturalized player Jordan Clarkson, Dwight Ramos, Thirdy Ravena and Ray Parks, meanwhile, are tipped to supply the athleticism, making Gilas a potent team on paper.

“Absolutely. I think Kai together with JuneMar, Japeth and AJ will give Gilas some significant size in the front court,” Alapag said, adding that the 21-year-old Sotto should use the World Cup as a platform to chase his NBA dream.

“I think a strong performance at the World Cup for Kai would definitely be great for him. It’s another opportunity for him to showcase his talent against world-class competition,” Alapag said.

He added that the challenge is how Gilas coach Chot Reyes will utilize all these talents and make them work as one solid unit.

“The challenge will always be for the team to build as much chemistry and camaraderie as possible before the World Cup,” Alapag said.

“But I’m sure Coach Chot, Coach Tim (Cone) and Coach Jong (Uichico) and the rest of the staff will have the team ready.”

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