No worries for PH five: PBA pledges buffet of standouts available for Guiao
JAKARTA—Even with a total of 10 players suspended by Fiba, Team Philippines can look forward to having a strong Gilas Pilipinas for the coming two World Cup Qualifying matches with the PBA doubling down on its pledge of all-out help.
“Coach Yeng will have a smorgasbord of players (available) from us,” pro league commissioner Willie Marcial told the Inquirer over the phone on Tuesday, hours before the Nationals were to play title favorite China in the 18th Asian Games here. “We’re open to lending him all the players that the team will need.”
Marcial said that the PBA, represented by its board of governors, and the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas and Guiao will be meeting a day after Guiao and the Nationals plane back home, which could be Sept. 2 at the latest.
“All he has to do is inform the league of the players that he wants,” Marcial said.
Still, as in any other international competition that the Philippines plays in, the big concern remains to be time, with the away match against the Iranians slated on Sept. 13 and the closed-door game back home against Qatar scheduled four days later.
“Coach Yeng will have just over two weeks to prepare,” Marcial added. “But he can practice all he wants from Sept. 7 as the Governors’ Cup will be taking a break for those games.”
Ten players are serving multiple game suspensions, counting the naturalized 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.