SPORTS
By Paolo S. Mariano 12256 views

10. JAYSON CASTRO - PHILIPPINES

Pos:
Guard
Ht: 5’9”
Age: 27 yrs. old

2011 FIBA-Asia Ave: Did not play

We know that L.A. Tenorio is the top point guard of Gilas. But we’re also very high on the prospects of The Blur being the game-changer for the squad. He has the speed, quickness, and smarts to outperform his much taller and heftier counterparts. One blink, you die. He’s also the best defender among all the guards in the lineup, having the ability and toughness to hound opponents like an overly clingy girlfriend. He’ll have his jittery moments since it’s his first FIBA-Asia, but make no mistake about it, Castro is ready.  

                            
                                                              He’s been a winner since his college days


9. RYOTA SAKURAI - JAPAN


Pos: Guard
Ht: 6’4”
Age: 30 yrs. old

2011 FIBA-Asia Ave: 3.1 PPG, 1.2 RPG, 1.2 APG

Japan has always fielded in talented guards who can shoot the lights out and create open shots for teammates—Sakurai is no exception. But what’s impressive about him is he can also easily penetrate to the lane with his size and strength. He’s like Kaede Rukawa from Slam Dunk, only it doesn’t take him two hours to take a shot. He’ll be a match-up problem for most shooting guards in the tournament. With top scorer Takuya Kawamura trying his luck in the NBA, it’s now his responsibility to spearhead the team.

                                                                                                  Iwas-iwas sa siko din pag may time!


8. SUN-HYUNG KIM - SOUTH KOREA

Pos: Guard
Ht: 6’1”
Age: 25 yrs. old

2011 FIBA-Asia Ave: Did not play

If there’s one player in the entire tournament who has the biggest potential, it’s this kid. What better platform to show the region what he’s made of than in his maiden FIBA-Asia stint? He’s terrific on the open court and has mad handles, like a more athletic Asian version of Tony Parker (somewhere out there, Eva Longoria is Googling). His leaping ability will also be an advantage against his typically grounded counterparts. Remember the name, because he’ll surely be a fixture in international competitions.   

                            
                                                           Dunking the ball like an Oreo cookie in milk


7. CHIH-CHIEH LIN - CHINESE TAIPEI


Pos:
Forward
Ht: 6’3”
Age: 31 yrs. old

2011 FIBA-Asia Ave: 9.4 PPG, 3.3 RPG, 2.3 APG

If there’s any wingman who is expected to have a breakout tourney, it’s Lin from Chinese-Taipei. Fresh off a Mythical Five selection in the Jones Cup, the high-scoring veteran will be one of the team’s main options alongside new naturalized big man Quincy Davis. He’s not just a scorer though, he’s a do-it-all type with his ability to hit the glass, orchestrate plays, and defend the opposing team’s top perimeter guy. He’s not dubbed The Beast in his country for nothing. If only we can do something about his hairstyle.

                                                                                              Really, Christina Aguilera? Really?!


6. MAHDI KAMRANI - IRAN

Pos: Guard
Ht: 6’1”
Age: 31 yrs. old
 
2011 FIBA-Asia Ave: 10.7 PPG, 3.9 RPG, 4.1 APG

With Daghles not playing in the biennial meet, the title of Asia’s top point guard is for Kamrani to take. At 31 years old, he’s no stranger to the FIBA-Asia, having steered the Iranians to back-to-back titles in 2007 and 2009. A regression from him this year would be like drinking lambanog after downing a nice bottle of Shiraz. Plus, with recent NBA draftee Arsalan Kazemi (54th overall) fighting for an NBA spot, he’ll have to increase his output. He and Hamed Afagh make up perhaps the best backcourt in the tournament.

                              
                                         Note to all Gilas guards: Don't leave Kamrani open from the three

NEXT: Beware of the Abdulrahman (and the Jianlian and the Haddadi)
 
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