Guiao can have smorgasbord of PBA players for next Gilas team
JAKARTA—Gilas Pilipinas will be playing China in a few hours in the 18th Asian Games, but cage fans back home will have something to cheer about before the first basket between these two regional rivals is scored here.
Not looking too far ahead, but Gilas Pilipinas will have all the tools that it would need come the next international tournament.
“Let’s call it like a smorgasbord for Gilas as far as players coming from us are concerned,” Willie Marcial, commissioner of the PBA, told the Inquirer over the phone when asked on Tuesday what the pro league participation will be as Yeng Guiao handles the team for the next Fiba World Cup Qualifying windows.
“He can pick whomever he wants. The PBA will be open as far as its players are concerned,” Marcial said, though he reiterated that Guiao, the league’s board of governors representing the team owners, and the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas will have to sit down first.
“That’s the first thing we need to do—talk to coach Yeng first, the SBP and the board—so that he can tell us the players that he would want,” Marcial went on. “But like I said, the PBA will be open to lend anyone.”
Guiao was appointed to handle Gilas in the next two games in the Qualifying, which will be against the Iranians in Iran and Qatar back home behind closed doors, a penalty the Philippines has to pay after the July 2 brawl with Australia in Bulacan.
And there are 10 players serving multiple game suspensions, counting naturalized player Andray Blatche, who will be out for three games, and Calvin Abueva who will be serving a six-game ban. RR Pogoy was also canned for five. Jason Castro and Terrence Romeo will also not be available.
But with the PBA opening its doors for Guiao, the talent pool is deep and with Christian Standhardinger the likely naturalized player for those games, Gilas could have a truly formidable team it can build.
Basketball action in the Asiad doesn’t end until Sept. 1 if the Philippines can make the medal games and Guiao will plane back to the country the following day at the earliest. And that would mean having less than two weeks to draw up his team with the game against Iran happening on Sept. 13.
The PBA has the season-ending Governors’ Cup ongoing but will suspend the elimination round from Sept. 7-17 to accommodate the National Five’s Fiba schedule.