Want to play for the Filipino National Team? Be tall, play in the D-League.

Smart Gilas Pilipinas is looking at two NBA veterans and a former PBA import as candidates for naturalization and replacement for Jamal Sampson, who failed to meet the team officials' expectations.

Earl Barron, a member of the 2006 NBA champion Miami Heat who suited up for Red Bull years ago, has been considered for inclusion to beef up the Filipinos' ambitious Olympic bid.

Smart Gilas' Serbian coach Rajko Toroman is also considering the 6-11 Courtney Sims, a 26-year-old forward who normed 9.5 points and 5.5 rebounds for the University of Michigan Wolverines. He also played for the Indiana Pacers in the NBA two years ago.

Smart Gilas team manager Frankie Lim is currently in the US trying to arrange workout sessions with these three players with Toroman, who is expected to join Lim anytime this week.

"I will look at all these players and see some more before we make a decision," said Toroman.

According to my favorite Filipino newspaper, the Philippine Star, the Filipino National Team is looking to naturalize a D-Leaguer in hopes for an "ambitious Olympic bid."

Apparently they're willing to just grab any big man from the D-League, because last I heard, Keith Closs was their top candidate after answering an internet ad.  They now seem to be leaning toward Iowa Energy bigmen, however.

BONUS COVERAGE: Last, but not least, I will now say 'normed' instead of 'averaged.'

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