These five made strong cases for themselves to be included in the FIBA World Cup lineup.
It was easy enough to pinpoint the five top-performing Gilas players in the sixth and final window of the FIBA World Cup Asian Qualifiers. But determining the five who stood out for the entire FIBA World Cup Asian Qualifiers, which spanned nearly three years and covered 10 games, proved a bit trickier. Reason being is the greater number of games, along with the fact there were plenty more players to choose from since quite a handful of them suited up for Gilas over that span.
Though, upon closer inspection and after rewatching the games and poring over the stats, these five players stood out among the rest:
Averages: 25.5 points, 5.5 rebounds, and 6.5 assists
Clarkson did what was expected of him in the fifth window: get buckets. He scored 27 against Lebanon and 23 against Jordan, both in hostile grounds and with very little prep time. Without a doubt, he is the finest offensive weapon who has ever played for the Philippines.
Averages: 29 points, 8 rebounds, 4 assists, 1 steal
Brownlee did it all for Gilas, and he showed he can do for the national team what he so often does for the Barangay Ginebra Gin Kings: take over a game. He even brought that Ginebra never-say-die spirit to Gilas in that near-comeback against Jordan.
Averages: 13 points, 9.3 rebounds, 1 assist, 3.3 blocks
Coach Chot Reyes has every right to rue Sotto’s begging off from Gilas. The 7-foot-2 beanpole was mostly a presence down low in the four games he played and was a force once in a while, too. He finished with double-digit markers in all four of his games, but it was his defense—particularly his rim protection—that really stood out.
Averages: 12.4 points, 6 rebounds, 2.6 assists, 2.1 steals
Ramos did not put up gaudy stats, but he was always solid—on both ends. He often defended high-scoring wings and yet found ways to contribute offensively as well. Plus, he was the only player to play in all 10 of Gilas’ FIBA World Cup Asian Qualifiers games.
Averages: 6.2 points, 6.8 rebounds, 4.8 assists, 1 steal
Thompson came to his own as Gilas’ lead playmaker in the fifth window and has only gotten better. That’s on top of his usual all-around exploits and leech-like defense. Oh, he also played in six games, which is tied for second-most with Ray Parks and Kiefer Ravena.
Honorable Mentions: Parks, Cjay Perez