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Jul 24, 2013
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(Hello, fellow hoops-crazy fan! In line with the upcoming FIBA-Asia Championship here in Manila FHM.com.ph will be releasing a series of stories designed to, well, get you more excited for these two weeks of international basketball and to make you the best bball-info-equipped bro at the inuman! Happy reading and Go Gilas Pilipinas!)

Basketball is a team sport, and we here at FHM really put a premium on teamwork (and not just in a ménage a trios). A cohesive unit will always be better than a star-centric one. Hear that, Carmelo Anthony? But at the same time, there will always be a standout in a team. The New York Yankees has Derek Jeter, The Avengers has Captain America (or Iron Man or Thor—let's not fight about this fellow geeks), N*SYNC had Justin Timberlake, and the Sexbomb Girls had Rochelle Pangilinan (and the shapely hips of Jopay Paguia).

The 15 competing teams in this year’s FIBA-Asia Championship are no exception to this. They all have players who are just more entertaining and more exciting to watch. Their physical assets, personality, and sheer individual greatness make their respective teams extra special.  

That said, we've decided to list 15 local guys who should be intriguing to watch in the upcoming tournament, which will start on August 1. With the biennial tournament being held in our country for the first time in 40 years, this list serves as your first glimpse to exactly what kind of basketball players will descend upon Manila.

Again: This list is exclusively about the homegrown players, and we’ll have a separate one for the naturalized guys. We ranked them based on their matter of significance, just because we want to make it harder for ourselves. Let’s count ‘em down.


Ht: 6’1”
Age: 26 yrs. old

2011 FIBA-Asia Ave: 14.5 PPG, 3.8 RPG, 4.0 APG  

Yes, he’s that trigger-happy guard who played for La Salle a couple of years ago and earned the distinction of being the Most Hated Player in Taft. But just when you thought his career was over, he found a home in, well, his home country. In the 2011 FIBA-Asia, he led Bahrain in scoring with 14.5 PPG—good for ninth in the tournament! Can you believe it? He couldn’t even crack the Top 30 in the UAAP! Clearly, there are other better players than him, but he’ll be more fascinating to watch because we sort of know him.   


                                                    The commentator was channeling his inner Tarzan


Ht: 7’1”
Age: 17 yrs. old

2011 FIBA-Asia Ave: 2.5 PPG, 55.6% FGs, 2.8 RPG,

Speaking of interesting, this giant of a kid from India will be one of the crowd favorites simply because it’s not every day that Pinoys see a seven-foot teenager. It’s a given that he’s still raw and unpolished; 17-year-old boys are supposed to be scouring the Internet for sultry photos of Marian Rivera (like these), not playing high-level basketball with adults! Like Malabes, he’s not one of the most talented players in the tournament. We’re not even sure if he’ll get consistent minutes, but aren’t you curious to see how he’ll hold his own? 


                                                                                   Batang Growee!


Pos: Forward
Ht: 6’3”
Age: 30 yrs. old

2011 FIBA-Asia Ave: Did not play

Playing in his first ever FIBA-Asia, most teams aren’t familiar with Chan’s ability to shoot. That’s why he’ll probably get open looks early in the tournament. Besides, he doesn’t actually strike fear in the hearts of the opponents with his good boy visage, which can give Sam Concepcion a run for his money. When his stroke is on though? He’s a nasty bastard. His style of play is tailor-made for international competition. He’s really come a long way from being an obscure rookie at FEU to one of Gilas’ secret weapons.


                                                                               Allan Caidic reincarnate


Pos: Center
Ht: 6’11”
Age: 19 yrs. old

2011 FIBA-Asia Ave: Did not play

Not seeing Wang Zhizhi play for China is like watching that girl-fronted version of the Eraserheads. It just doesn’t feel right. Fortunately for the Chinese, Zhelin is ready to fill the void left by his legendary namesake. He’s been long hailed as the future of Chinese basketball (perhaps along with a thousand others) with his frame and terrifying potential. At such a young age, he isn’t afraid to play rough inside. He may not be a complete threat offensively, but he’s an additional defensive pillar for the tall reigning champions.


                                                                 P20 to the dude who can name this song!


Pos: Guard
Ht: 6’2”
Age: 30 yrs. old

2011 FIBA-Asia Ave: Did not play

After sitting out 2011, Al-Sous’ return to the FIBA-Asia couldn’t come at a better time for Jordan. With the exclusion of star guard Sam Daghles and veteran forward Zaid Abbas in the lineup and the departure of Rasheim Wright—the team’s top three scorers—it’s his time to shine. With his size and deft shooting touch, he’s the most reliable among the squad’s tenured players. He’ll form a rock-solid backcourt duo with new naturalized teammate Jimmy Baxter. As LL Cool J famously once said: "Don’t call it a comeback!"

NEXT: Jayson Castro, Sakurai, Chieh-chieh and other tongue-twisting names