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Santos believes McCullough's defense crucial if he is to become Gilas naturalized player

by Reynald Magallon, May 22, 2020 3:29pm

Size, length, speed, shooting and athleticism - there was no doubt in the mind of San Miguel Beer star Arwind Santos that his former import Chris McCullough has all of these qualities in his arsenal to become a formidable force for the Gilas Pilipinas.

However, Santos believes that there's still one thing that McCullough needs to prove in order for him to become the national team's anchor in the future - his ability to defend against bigger opponents.

"Tingin ko pwede (Gilas naturalized). Skills, talent, wala akong question kay Cmac. Shooting outside, mabilis para sa height niya, ang inaano ko lang sa international may big man na malalaki, mabibigat, kailangan niya depensahan iyon," said Santos during an interview in an episode of the 2OT Podcast hosted by PBA commentators Magoo Marjon and Carlo Pamintuan.

The former SMB import had expressed his intent to be naturalized and represent the national team numerous times already. He was even one of the prospects by the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas in their bid to create a pool of naturalized players for the national team.

For Santos, McCullough's defense against the opposing teams' big men will be crucial if he is to become a Gilas naturalized player.

"Kailangan siya nag dedepensa dun, sino pa dedepensa dun wala naman, kasi ang mga big man natin na kwatro di naman ganun kalalaki pano kung may singkong malaki, kailangan bantayan niya, the 2013 PBA MVP explained.

Santos also added that the ability to defend bigger and wider centers in the international stage was the reason why former naturalized player Andray Blatche fit well with the national team. Blatche first played for the Philippines in the 2014 World Cup where Gilas faced towering frontlines from Croatia, Greece, Argentina, Puerto Rico and even Senegal.

"Si Blatche nakakabantay ng malalaki sa gitna. Di ko sinasabing much better si Blatche, pero nung kabataan mas better si Blatche kasi malaki, nakakabantay ng malaki," he added.

Make no mistake though, Santos believes McCullough can hold the forth against bigger opponents. It's just that the 25-year old forward needs to stay away from foul trouble when he's defending against wider and taller players.

Di ko sinasabing di kaya bumantay ni McCullough pero siyempre baka mafoul trouble kasi malalaki yung sa international," Santos explained. "Pero pwede (naturalized player) kasi mabilis, rumerebound, may shooting, may dribble at maasahan."


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