Looking at the newcomers to Gilas
by rick olivares
It is a great honor for Jio Jalalon, Roger Pogoy, and Matthew Wright, all playing in their rookie year in the PBA, to be named to the national team that will compete in the 2017 Seaba tournament from May 12-18 at the Smart Araneta Coliseum. The winner of the single round robin affair among eight nations will automatically go to the FIBA Asia Cup later this year.
What exactly do these three players bring to the national team?
Let’s take a look.
Jiovani Jalalon (PBA team: Star Hotshots)
The 24-year old quicksilver quick point guard of the Star Hotshots first came to prominence with the Arellano University Chiefs who he helped guide to a pair of NCAA finals berths. A two-time veteran of the Southeast Asian Games where he pocketed a gold medal.
The Cagayan de Oro City born point guard who stands at five feet and nine inches tall, can drive to the basket, finish strong, or if confronted by a taller player launch those teardrops or sneak in scoopers for a twinner. He has good range – a three, a medium range shot, or even a turn-around jumper. Can post up smaller players too. Great court vision as he can find his open teammates on the run or when he is attacking the defense.
Easily one of the more exciting players in the league. The heir to Jayson Castro’s as the player who will make Gilas’ offense go.
Roger Pogoy (PBA team: TNT KaTropa)
The 24-year old Cebuano really came of age in his final season with Far Eastern University where he was an integral part of a championship team. Stands 6’2” and plays the two and three-spots. Good range with his shot and plays terrific defense individually and even helping out. Can finish the break too when needed.
What he adds to Gilas is his two-way game. Makes good decisions and reads. Hardly commits errors. Terrific attitude towards the game and a team player.
Could spell Terrence Romeo on the team. Not a high scorer but he can when he’s on a roll.
Matthew Wright (PBA team: Phoenix Fuel Masters)
The 6’4” Fil-Canadian stepped into the Phoenix Fuel Masters line-up and made an immediate impact. Plays like a veteran even in his rookie year.
The 26-year old from Toronto, Canada, first played professionally in France with Union d’Arc Phalange Quimper before joining the Westsports Malaysia Dragons in the Asean basketball League where his Phoenix head coach, Ariel Vanguardia, brought him. Theirs was an obvious reunion in the PBA. “It’s easy to tab him because I know what he could do,” said Vanguardia on the PBA Draft night last year.
He has previous national team experience having player for the Under-18 team of Franz Pumaren in the four-team Nokia Youth Basketball Invitational and the FIBA Asia Under-18 Championship, both in 2008.
Wright has size on the wing, and the speed to match players in the two and three-spots. He also has good range on his shot and can also stick the medium range jumper. But what has been most impressive about him is his headiness.