Program Director of Gilas, Tab Baldwin gave the credit to Rj Abarrientos and Sj Belangel as to why they should belong in the Gilas pool who is not just someone with just a “physical prototype” player but more than that.

/ 26 March 2021

“There’s a certain criteria that we look at for international players and I think that a lot of people will say just get the best players, and certainly, the elite players at whatever age we’re talking about, we do want them,” Baldwin told The Game.

And talking about elite players, he averred that they are looking far beyond more than what the eyes can perceive.

“But beyond that, we’re looking for length in players, and we’re looking for intangibles. We’re looking for, let’s say, an advanced understanding of the game,” Baldwin propounded.

Players with talent are one thing, but clever players are the ones they should be honing for as Baldwin Abarrientos and Belangel are good examples.

“These two guys are not the physical prototype that we’re looking for, but they’re sort of around the Kiefer Ravena-model who’s a very clever basketball player who reads the game extremely well, and SJ and RJ are sort of cut from the same mold,” he affirmed.

“Both RJ and SJ are cut from that same mold…So what they might lack in the elite talent, they make up for in you know, a basketball IQ that is very advanced,” Tab added.

Belangel is already a well-decorated player with three-time UAAP champion Blue Eagles under his belt while Abarrientos already had his skills honed during the FIBA 3×3 Under-23 World Cup in 2018.

“In the international game, because it’s not an overly athletic game, it’s a very intellectual game, a player like that can fit in even though physically, they’re a little bit inferior,” Baldwin concluded.