Gilas Pilipinas head coach Yeng Guiao forwarded a “simple proposal” to the PBA that calls for a longer and more extensive training for the team that will vie in the FIBA World Cup in China.
“We’re hoping we can start earlier,” said Guiao during the well-attended Philippine Sportswriters Association (PSA) Forum at the Amelie Hotel-Manila on Tuesday, April 23.
Guiao, who took over the Gilas coaching job from Chot Reyes, can only wish that the PBA will provide him the window by adjusting its schedule in favor of the World Cup campaign.
“I think we need more than the ten or twelves days of break (in the PBA schedule) for the World Cup so we can extend our practices,” said Guiao ahead of the country’s second straight stint in the World Cup.
Commissioner Willie Marcial – who also graced the forum presented by San Miguel Corp., Tapa King, Amelie Hotel, and the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) – said he will discuss the matter with the PBA board when it meets on Thursday at the league office in Libis, Quezon City.
“I’ve had initial talks with coach Yeng on this. We fully support him. It can be done,” said Marcial.
The PBA Philippine Cup is in its semifinal round, and the finals will be over no later than May 15. To give the Gilas campaign more space, the league will kick off the Commissioner’s Cup on May 19.
The World Cup is scheduled Aug. 30 to Sept. 15. Gilas will play the opening round against Italy, Serbia, and Angola in that order. Two wins will send the Philippines to the next round.
“I’m asking for more than 12 days of continuous practice or if possible, one month. I hope we can practice twice a day for four days in June, then twice a day for eight days in July, and then daily in August,” said Guiao.
The fiery coach from Pampanga told the forum he’s also looking at tune-up games against Australia, New Zealand, and other European countries.
Winning two out of three games against Serbia (4th), Italy (13th), and Angola (39th) will send the Philippines (31st) to the second round. Otherwise, it falls to the classification stage.
Guiao is also keeping his fingers crossed that NBA standout Jordan Clarkson can join Gilas as a local, and play side by side with naturalized player Andray Blatche.
“If Jordan can play for us, then it will change the whole complexion.”