The new-look men's national basketball team played far from perfect but was able to gut out convincing back-to-back wins over the host country's two squads, Chinese-Taipei A (88-72) and Chinese-Taipei B (93-82), to bolster its title defense.
Gilas' first three games were a glimpse of how the nation will stack up against international competition in the future. The initial part of the Jones Cup also revealed some room for improvement.
Christian Standhardinger is the real deal
The Fil-German isn't only making his presence on the boards (11.3 rpg), he has also been reliable on the other side of the floor (10.7 ppg). Watching Standhardinger outhustle everyone on the court leaves us somewhat torn by choosing between him and Andray Blatche for our naturalized player.
Are you sure that isn't Mike Myers the actor?
So that's why TNT coach Nash Racela didn't replace the hurting Josh Smith against SMB. Before his 14-14 double-double performance on Monday, Myers didn't look like someone who can anchor the middle. His breakout game may have been too late, though, as Gilas clearly needs a better import.
The Wright way
Called it. The Fil-Canadian hotshot is putting up a team-best 15.7 points per game, on on top of having the tournament's third-best record in most three-pointers made with 11. The scary part is, Matthew Wright may only be warming up. Opposing defenses, be wary.
Where is Rayray Parks?
The Alab Pilipinas standout is obviously missing in action (6.5 ppg), and this was even before he suffered that sprain versus Chinese-Taipei. His is a different case from Kobe Paras, who just hasn't been getting enough burn. Parks must step up if he wishes to continue chasing his NBA dream.
The phenomenal Phenom
Jio Jalalon might be giving Kiefer Ravena a run for his money as the starting point guard, but the latter has proven to be the steadying force for the relatively inexperienced squad. Aside from being the team's second-leading scorer (12.3 ppg), he is also their top playmaker (4.7 apg).