MEDAN, Indonesia ? Yeng Guiao is far from pushing the panic button even with Ryan Reyes out for the rest of the Seaba men?s cage championship here.
?For me, the time to determine the final lineup (of Powerade-Team Pilipinas for the Fiba-Asia championship) would be in the Jones Cup,? Guiao said Sunday when asked if he would look for other players in the PBA to take Reyes? place at the point.
?We still have to check the extent of his injury before we decide on that,? the firebrand drillmaster added.
?I will only consider looking at other players (for the point guard spot) if both Ryan and Jay-Jay (Helterbrand) won?t be available.?
Only Kelly Williams seems likely to be out of the Fiba-Asia roster after being downed by a blood disease as early as the PBA All-Star break in April.
?I won?t rush Kelly,? Guiao said. ?If I were him, I?d rest for about six months and make sure that I get healthy. I won?t risk my health anymore.?
And if Williams, the reigning PBA MVP, really won?t be healthy enough to join the Jones Cup team next month, Guiao said he would be dropped from the team altogether, as with any other who will not be able to play in Taipei for whatever reasons.
Helterbrand, the Barangay Ginebra spitfire, joined this trip but is not in the lineup also because of a hamstring pull. This left Willie Miller to tend the point with Gabe Norwood as backup for the Alaska ace.
Sonny Thoss, the Alaska center, is also here and is one of the cheerleaders along with Helterbrand, whose condition Guiao described as ?iffy at the moment.?
Guiao also said he needs to be able to see Japeth Aguilar in action as soon as possible, mentioning that the same rule would apply on the 6-foot-9 former Western Kentucky University power forward?he needs to play in Taipei.
?There?s no use tapping players for the Fiba-Asia if we don?t see them play in the Jones Cup,? Guiao said. ?To me, that?s the ultimate test before we go to China. If we can?t see him in action in a top-caliber field (like the Jones Cup) we won?t see him in action (for the Fiba-Asia) anymore.?
Jones Cup rules allow Guiao the full complement of a 15-man roster. And with Williams out?and if Thoss, Helterbrand and Reyes get better physically?Aguilar could fill up the roster.
Three Asian berths
Guiao will then trim that down to 12 for the Fiba-Asia, the very tournament for which this team was assembled.
The Philippines is seeking one of three berths staked in the Asian tournament for the World Basketball Championship, in which the country last competed in the early 1970s.
The world championship is scheduled in Istanbul, Turkey, next year.
The draw for the Fiba-Asia tournament, slated to be held Aug. 6 to 16, will be on June 17 in Tianjin, about 137 kilometers southwest of Beijing.
Reyes pulled his hamstring while going for a baseline drive in the first quarter Saturday night against Malaysia.
The hard-nosed, 6-foot guard volunteered to go back into the fray after receiving first-aid treatment, but Guiao kept him on the bench for fear the player?s injury might worsen.