How Did They Do: Grading the Gilas Window 6 Roster

gilas fiba asia qualifiers
Original photos via FIBA Basketball

Gilas Pilipinas went 1-1 in the last window of the 2023 FIBA World Cup Asian Qualifiers, winning against Lebanon and losing a heartbreaker against Jordan.

This version of the national team brought excitement with their high-octane offense (ranked 1st compared to other Gilas squads) and a sense of good flow on their sets and plays. The alarming concerns on defense (ranked last compared to other Gilas squads) were expected, given the lack of height and length with the available personnel they had. 

Let’s look at each player who played significant minutes (which means we will not grade Thirdy Ravena, Calvin Oftana, and Kevin Quiambao) and see how well they performed this window.

*Shooting splits: 3P%/FT%/TS%(True Shooting)

Justin Brownlee: S

Box Score: 29.0 points, 8.0 rebounds (1.5 offensive rebounds), 4.0 assists, 0.5 blocks, 1.0 steal

Shooting Splits: 70.0 / 71.4 / 67.3

Other Stats: 32.3 minutes, 2.0 turnovers, 3.5 fouls

Justin Brownlee’s performance in this FIBA window was unexpected. We already knew how good of a scorer he is in the PBA, but what we didn’t know is how well he can translate this to international ball and how versatile he can be. Before the window, Jordan Clarkson was a shoo-in as our import for the World Cup. But now, the national team will have a tough decision to make regarding this matter.

Scottie Thompson: A-

Box Score: 7.0 points, 6.0 rebounds (3.0 off reb), 6.5 assists, 1.0 steal

Shooting Splits: 100 / 25.0 / 54.9

Other Stats: 24.1 minutes, 2.0 turnovers, 3.5 fouls

At this point, Scottie Thompson has cemented himself as the lead point guard for the national team. In theory, players who can shoot the ball well should be worth more than players who are more inclined to drive to the basket. But Scottie’s rim pressure and smart movement are enough to attract the defense and give shooters open looks. Just watch this Scottie masterclass on utilizing rim pressure and smart movements.

Jamie Malonzo: A-

Box Score: 13.0 points, 5.0 rebounds (3.0 off reb), 1.5 assists, 2.0 steals, 1.0 block

Shooting Splits: 55.6 / 33.3 / 67.3

Other Stats: 23.3 minutes, 1.5 turnovers, 2.0 fouls

With a huge increase in minutes and usage, Jamie Malonzo has taken a leap in terms of his performance in FIBA. He already showed his athleticism during his college career with La Salle, but it was all realized on both ends on the floor during this window. Malonzo is the best local wing for the national team right now, and with his improving shooting ability and versatility on defense, he should be a shoo-in for the national team for years to come.

Dwight Ramos: B+

Box Score: 8.5 points, 5.0 rebounds (1.5 off reb), 1.5 assists, 0.5 steals, 0.5 blocks

Shooting Splits: 22.2 / 83.3 / 54.4

Other Stats: 24.8 minutes, 1.5 turnovers, 2.0 fouls

Dwight Ramos has been in a bit of a slump considering how he has performed in past Gilas games. Yet, he is still one of the key guys for the national team. Ramos is slowly adapting to a changed role from a main option to an off-ball threat and secondary creator on offense. As one of the premier wings in the country, Ramos should still be a sure pick for the roster heading to the World Cup.

Jordan Heading: B

Box Score: 9.5 points, 2.0 rebounds, 3.0 assists

Shooting Splits: 25.0 / 100 / 53.5

Other Stats: 21.6 minutes, 1.0 turnover, 1.0 foul

As a shooting threat who gave other slashers and creators space to operate, Jordan Heading was one of the key players in this window. What stood out though was how well he can make good decisions with the ball despite his main role of being a movement shooter. This should be an encouraging development for him to slowly transition from a shooting/combo guard into a legit point guard in the near future.

Bobby Ray Parks Jr.: B

Box Score: 9.0 points, 2.5 rebounds, 3.0 assists, 0.5 steals

Shooting Splits: 30.0 / 100 / 58.8

Other Stats: 20.8 minutes, 2.0 turnovers, 1.0 foul

Bobby Ray Parks Jr. was another player who provided much needed space for the national team. Just like Heading, he showed a face of a game which was a bit unusual for him. His off-ball movement was spot-on multiple times while playing off guys who demand gravity on offense (Brownlee) and players who provide rim pressure (Thompson and Fajardo). He also stepped up his decision-making with the ball in his hands, resulting in better shots for his teammates. Whatever the case, Parks is only one of the few players in the country who can space the floor well and have a versatile skill set on offense.

Kiefer Ravena: B-

Box Score: 4.0 points, 2.0 rebounds, 3.5 assists

Shooting Splits: 50.0 / 0.0 / 66.7

Other Stats: 10.4 minutes, 1.0 foul

Kiefer Ravena needed a good game for Gilas, and he had that versus Lebanon. Playing as the point guard for the second unit, he facilitated the offense well and made the right play almost every time on the floor. He should have ranked higher than a B- but the lack of playing time in the Jordan game puts him in this grade for now. 

Mason Amos: B-

Box Score: 6.5 points, 1.0 rebound

Shooting Splits: 60.0 / 0.0 / 92.9

Other Stats: 6.9 minutes, 1.0 foul

The 18-year old Mason Amos (who has not even started his freshman year with Ateneo) had one of the best Gilas debuts, scoring 13 points and going perfect from the field against Lebanon. But his defensive issues were exposed, and he’ll need to improve his strength and lateral speed. Still, this grade is very impressive for an 18-year old, and Amos should be a fixture in Gilas rosters for the next few years.

June Mar Fajardo: C+

Box Score: 5.0 points, 5.0 rebounds, 1.5 assists

Shooting Splits: 100 / 83.3 / 46.9

Other Stats: 14.9 minutes, 1.0 turnovers, 2.0 fouls

June Mar Fajardo displayed flashes of an improved perimeter game during this window. There were also Fajardo post-ups that gave other players space to take advantage of and generate offense for the national team. But it has to be said: he cannot hold on his own against better international players who can match his strength and can move faster with or without the ball. Against elite international competition, Fajardo’s offense would not be enough to match his shortcomings on his defense.

CJ Perez: C+

Box Score: 6.0 points, 0.5 rebounds, 2.0 assists, 1.0 steal

Shooting Splits: 20.0 / 75.0 / 43.6

Other Stats: 15.8 minutes, 1.5 turnovers, 2.0 fouls

Although CJ Perez started in two games for the national team, his game was a bit underwhelming, considering the minutes he played and the plays he received. He was still generating good pressure at the rim and was hitting down some shots, but other guards showed more value than him. On defense, there were multiple occasions when he struggled to keep up on rotations off the ball. Moreover, he did not have much of an impact when defending on the ball. Perez should still be in the top tier of Philippine guards. But for the World Cup? There might be better options than him.

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