MANILA, Philippines – Fil-Canadian cager Sean Anthony of McGill University is now in Tokyo with the Smart-Gilas developmental team for exhibition games with the Japanese national squad and SBP executive director Noli Eala said yesterday the 6-4, 200-pound swingman could play a pivotal role in the campaign to qualify for the 2012 London Olympics.
Anthony, 23, finished his varsity career as McGill’s fourth all-time leading scorer this past season where as a senior, he averaged 15.4 points, 7.4 rebounds, 3.1 assists, 2.7 steals and 34.1 minutes. He wound up with 1,834 career points, 82 double-figure games and 21 double-doubles in 152 total outings. A highlight of the campaign was McGill’s upset over the University of Virginia, the Canadian school’s first win over an NCAA Division I varsity in 23 years.
A physical education major, Anthony was known as a defensive stopper and slasher at McGill. He was invited by Eala to join the Fil-Am camp in Las Vegas last April and coach Rajko Toroman was impressed with his overall skills and strong knowledge of the game.
Anthony’s mother is Filipina. “When I was a kid, I’d spend all my summers in the Philippines,” he said. “I also hang out with the Filipinos (in Vancouver) so adjusting to the (Filipino) culture won’t be difficult.” Anthony’s dream is to someday play in the PBA.
“Sean played in a scrimmage between Fil-Ams and Smart-Gilas in Las Vegas and he impressed with good shot selection, tough defense and overall court sense,” said Eala. “He’s still learning and adjusting to coach Rajko’s system. He also played in our games against Red Bull and lately, Talk ‘N’ Text where he played good quality minutes.”
Toroman and seven players left Manila for Tokyo last Monday. The players were Anthony, import CJ Giles, J. V. Casio, Dylan Ababou, Greg Slaughter, Jason Ballesteros and Mac Baracael. Two others, Magi Sison and J. R. Cawaling, joined the team yesterday. Two more, Mark Barroca and Aldrech Ramos, leave today with Eala.
Barroca and Ramos stayed behind to play for Oracle in Game 1 of the PBL Finals yesterday.
Missing the trip are Rey Guevara and R. J. Jazul of Letran. The team returns to Manila on Sunday.
“We agreed to allow Mark and Aldrech to stay behind upon the request of Mikee Romero so they can play in Game 1 of the PBL Finals,” said Eala. “This is a big sacrifice for us since Japan will field their complete national team lineup in the first game of our four friendlies while we will play with only seven players since Mark and Aldrech won’t reach the game on time. But the PBL is a supporter of the SBP and we are committed to help our stakeholders as much as we can.”
Baracael and Cawaling also play for Oracle so coach Glenn Capacio will miss two mainstays in Game 1 of the PBL Finals.
Eala said Guevara and Jazul were excused from the Japan trip because of commitments with the Knights.
“We also opted to leave Rey and R. J. behind upon the request of Letran,” continued Eala. “Again, this is in line with our commitment to schools that the SBP will always give precedence to school competitions unless urgently necessary.”
Eala said Fil-Am hotshot Chris Lutz of Marshall University couldn’t join the team because he’s still working on his passport. “Chris won’t make it in time but he’ll train with the team in Manila when we return.”
With basketball scratched out of the Southeast Asian Games calendar this year, Eala said there are more than enough tournaments to keep the Smart-Gilas team busy.
First is the PBA Philippine Cup where the developmental squad will be a guest entry. In November, the team may return to play an invitational tournament in Nanning, southwest China – Smart-Gilas ruled the eight-team event last year. In December, Toroman’s squad may see action in the prestigious Haarlem joust in Holland.
“Our big test will be in the Asian Games in Guangzhou late next year and we’ll probably join the Jones Cup in July before then as a warm-up,” said Eala. “We plan to train in Australia, China, Serbia and the US. We’re hoping to learn defense from the Australians and get more familiar with the Chinese game. Iran has been invited to play in the NBA summer league and we’d like to play there, too. There’s a tournament against Middle East teams in Dubai in January and that will be another familiarization process. We want our team to be exposed to as many national teams as possible.”
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