Gilas Pilipinas will prepare as hard and as early they can to fan their hopes of making it into the 2019 FIBA World Cup.
Yeng Guiao wants as much, as Gilas is hard-pressed to redeem itself in the Asian Qualifiers’ sixth window in February, following a dismal showing in the fifth window last December.
That window was the worst outing from the Filipino dribblers since the third window last July, where they figured in a brawl with Australia. The team failed to protect home court advantage by losing to Iran and Kazakhstan.
Gilas currently holds a 5-5 card. The Filipinos will start their preparations on January 21 – exactly a month before facing Qatar on the road.
“Gilas is also my responsibility.
“The break is a welcome break. We’re requesting PBA ‘wag na lang munang once a week. Gawin nating twice a week,” said Guiao during the PBA Media Day, Thursday at The Tent in Solaire.
“Kasi kailangan nating paghandaan. Kailangan natin paghandaan kung gusto nating makapasok sa World Cup,” he asserted. “Importante manalo tayong dalawang laro, itong [kalaban natin sina] Kazakhstan and Qatar.”
The seasoned mentor of the NLEX Road Warriors is also thankful that the PBA teams and their bosses are all in favor of his idea.
“Willing naman yung mga teams, yung mga owners, board of governors, yung PBA, yung SBP; si MVP [Manny V. Pangilinan] lalo na. They’re all putting together a good effort [for Philippines] to make the World Cup,” said Guiao.
As far as the talent pool for the sixth window is concerned, Guiao said that he will only collect 15 players this time around – far from the 20-plus players he had during the last two windows, or since he took over the coaching reins.
“Most of them will be retained.
“Yung pool natin maliit na pool nalang. Fifteen na lang, para mas madali silang maka-absorb at makafocus kami. Hindi na masyadong marami kapag nagpa-practice kami,” said Guiao.
Part of the sixth window’s talent pool will be naturalized center Andray Blatche, who wasn’t included in the last window – though his suspension had been done then – as Guiao opted to take Christian Standhardinger and Stanley Pringle.
With the 6-foot-11 Blatche – who’s back in the Chinese Basketball Association and is currently playing for Tianjin Gold Lions – arriving, Guiao revealed that it will be more difficult to select whether to have Standhardinger or Pringle on board.
“Ano na yun. Ibig sabihin, naturally mawawalan sila ng slots pagpasok ni Blatche,” he rued. “That’s the harsh reality we have to face. Sayang lang kasi dapat Pilipino yung dalawang yun. Dapat sana, locals sila. But sayang.
“All I can do is manghinayang.”
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