October 04, 2023

All-Time Gilas 5: The Best of the Best

All-Time Gilas 5: The Best of the Best
Art by One Sports

Gilas Pilipinas has seen its share of great players through the years, which is to be expected. It is, after all, the national team, and only the best of the best are asked to suit up. However, there were five players who truly stood out in their time with Gilas. With that being said, here are the five players who deserve a spot in the All-Time Gilas 5—in the estimation of One Sports.

Andray Blatche

Blatche was a gun for hire, recruited to bolster Gilas’ chances in the 2014 World Cup. And the 6-foot-11 naturalized Filipino did his part, helping the national team net its first World Cup in decades and be competitive in its other games. The great thing is that Blatche suited up for Gilas in other tournaments, even helping the Philippines qualify for the 2019 World Cup.  

Ranidel de Ocampo

People tend to forget how good Gilas de Ocampo was. But the truth is he was sublime even as an undersized four—shooting the long ball, taking bigger opponents off the dribble, and using guile and “gulang” inside. Let it be known, too, that RDO was just as crucial in sending Gilas to the 2014 World Cup. Go ahead, rewatch the final four minutes of the game that broke the Course of Korea. And lest it be forgotten, de Ocampo always had that “Pambansang Siko” sharp and ready whenever it was needed.

Gabe Norwood

Norwood was a silent worker, the ultimate glue guy for a program that routinely paraded the best players of the country. And he gets his well-deserved spot in this all-time five for his tireless, all-world defense. Norwood routinely had to cover the opposing team’s best wing players, and he more than held his own almost every time. Plus, he starred in two of Gilas’ signature plays through the years—the poster on Luis Scola and that throwdown over Marcos Mata.

Jordan Clarkson

It can be argued that Clarkson has not played enough games to deserve this spot. It is a fair argument. But he made the two games he played count, showcasing the kind of world-class talent the national team needs to excel at the world stage. In short, he brought NBA pedigree to the program . . . and it appears he is willing to do it again come the World Cup.

Jimmy Alapag

Alapag was arguably the heart and soul of the national team. He embodied the “Puso” mantra of Gilasundersized but never backing down, all heart and guts. He was superb both in leading Gilas to the 2014 World Cup and in the biggest stage of basketball as wellorchestrating the offense and firing from way deep even before it was a thing.