Hopes for Andray Blatche and Terrence Romeo to return to Gilas Pilipinas shot up recently as their three-game suspensions from that infamous brawl last July are due to end in the fifth window of the FIBA World Cup Qualifiers.
But they won’t be coming back yet.
New Gilas head coach Yeng Guiao announced the 20-man national team pool on Tuesday afternoon in the midst of the 2018 PBA Governors’ Cup quarterfinals, and Blatche’s and Romeo’s names weren’t mentioned.
Guiao explained the reasons behind the hard decision, firstly with Blatche.
“We appreciate what he has done for us previously. It was really a hard decision on our part, but we took into consideration the chemistry that has been built up from the Asian Games with Christian [Standhardinger] and Stanley [Pringle],” Guiao shared.
“There’s a really strong bond among the members and we want to preserve that. The second is since Andray is going to be available only on the Iran game, there’s some limitation to how we can utilize him,” Guiao added.
“Thirdly, Christian has produced numbers that cannot be argued against, from the Asian Games up to the fourth window. So we felt that he deserved a strong consideration for the lineup. But of course he’s still going to be considered.”
With Blatche not included, Guiao will once again pick between Standhardinger and Pringle, just like what he did back in the Qualifiers’ fourth window.
And with Romeo, Guiao explained that it was a consensus agreement among team officials that adding the flamboyant scoring guard would make it harder for Romeo and the team due to the number of talented guards they have.
The guards in the pool are Pringle, Jayson Castro, Paul Lee, Alex Cabagnot, Marcio Lassiter, Matthew Wright, Scottie Thompson, Gabe Norwood, Gilas Cadet and 3×3 player Ricci Rivero, and former Gilas floor general LA Tenorio.
“Consensus din,” said the decorated mentor. “Aside from the coaching staff, we also sought the approval of the PBA and the SBP and they supported the decision. There’s just too much talent especially in the guard position.
“We felt that Terrence is going to be considered in the next window.”