After five windows in the 2019 FIBA World Cup Asian Qualifiers, the Philippine players have their backs against the wall with a 5-5 record.
During the first three windows, with Andray Blatche included, Gilas ended the opening round with a 4-2 record. But without Blatche – who was slapped with a three-game suspension – the nationals fell to 1-3 and are in danger of completely missing out on the World Cup itself.
During those two games, Stanley Pringle and Christian Standhardinger were plugged as the team’s naturalized players, splitting duties evenly.
In the two games the Philippines played against Iran, the 6-foot-8 Standhardinger posted norms of 23.5 points and 10.0 rebounds. Both ended as losses.
On the other hand, Pringle, a 6-foot floor general, put up numbers of 21.0 points, 4.5 rebounds, and 3.5 games. He ended up with a ledger of 1-1.
“Christian did an excellent job tonight. And Stanley Pringle did an excellent job against Kazakhstan,” lamented Gilas head coach Yeng Guiao after their 70-78 loss to Iran.
“Ang pinanghihinayangan ko, parehong Pilipino yan.“
But rules are rules.
Given this, Guiao is hoping to have a “pool” of possible naturalized players. And that includes Justin Brownlee, a three-time PBA champion import who is undergoing the process of naturalization.
“Ang isang option na nakasalang na ay si Brownlee.
“Nasa Congress na yung papeles nya. That’s an option we can consider. Nandoon na siya sa Congress. Siguro, kung ipu-push nila yun. Baka magamit natin, mahabol,” Guiao disclosed about the process of naturalizing the 6-foot-5 scorer, who hails from Georgia, USA.
“The other thing is pwedeng mag-naturalize ka ng isa lang. Pwedeng mag-naturalize ng dalawang player kamukha ng ginagawa natin kay Stanley at Christian. Pwede kang mamili depende sa needs and situations. Those are the options,” he added.
With just one more window remaining, Guiao is hoping that they can hasten things before it’s too late.
“Hindi naman serious but yun nga, knowing what we know now, nage-expand tayo ng options natin and that is an immediate option we can exercise.”