With time not on their side, interim Gilas Pilipinas head coach Yeng Guiao said that he will determine his final 12-man lineup for the 2019 FIBA World Cup Asian Qualifiers on Monday, right after the team’s practice.
The veteran mentor said that he’s doing this so the team can familiarize themselves with each other and his system, since he won’t be having a team with the core of the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters like the one he had in the Asian Games.
“Monday is the start of practice. We will also determine Monday who are interested in accepting that invitation and then we will form the team right there after,” said Guiao, Saturday night. “Hectic ang schedule.
“So again, it’s going to be an issue of preparation and issue of familiarity, because this is not the team that we brought to the Asian Games, plus it’s not also the core of ROS so mag-iiba ‘yung core nito, ‘yung character, ‘yung players.”
James Yap and Maverick Ahanmisi will not longer be part of the pool, as Matthew Wright and Allein Maliksi will take their place – Wright has only been slapped with a one-game ban by FIBA for their hand in the brawl versus Australia.
Given that, Wright will be eligible to suit up for the Nationals in its’ home game versus Qatar on the 17th.
Asian Games players Beau Belga, Raymond Almazan, Gabe Norwood, Stanley Pringle, Poy Erram, Christian Standhardinger, Asi Taulava, and Paul Lee have been retained by the bench strategist in the 14-man pool.
Those who have been invited are San Miguel Beermen stars Alex Cabagnot and Marcio Lassiter, Barangay Ginebra San Miguel’s high-leaping guard Scottie Thompson, and Magnolia Hotshots’ 6-foot-7 slotman Ian Sangalang.
The national team might lose either Standhardinger or Pringle, however, no thanks to FIBA’s eligibility rules – both are seen by FIBA as naturalized Filipinos. So for Guiao, it just another reason why he wants to have a team this early.
“Kailangan din kaya maaga, yung documentation at yung eligibility eh. Kailangan may napili ka na, kailangan doon sigurado tayo na okay sa FIBA. Kung hindi, kailangan mapalitan kaagad,” he pointed out.
“Ayun ‘yung isang issue pa rin doon.”
The main reason why Guiao wants to have a team by Monday is for him to be able to prepare his wards the best he can, as they will be facing Asian powerhouse team Iran, who recently won the silver medal in the Asiad.
“I’ve said this before, you play Iran anywehere, it’s going to be a tall order for you to beat them. But if you play them in Iran, that’s even a taller order, especially kung ‘yun nga, kapos na naman tayo sa oras,” he said.
But even if they’re hounded and beset by problems again, the decorated mentor isn’t dwelling on it much, asserting that there’s still a glimmer of hope.
“I’m hopeful kasi sa Asian Games we are very decent despite the limitations,” expressed Guiao, as the Philippines finished fifth.
“So we’re hoping we could also put up a good fight against Iran despite the same limitations, the same problems.”
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