Now-vacant Gilas post not distracting Guiao from job at hand
Chot Reyes’ decision to step down as head coach of Gilas Pilipinas thrust Yeng Guiao into the spotlight as a natural—and, most say, rightful—successor to the post.
But the fiery NLEX mentor is not basking in all the attention, not with two important World Cup qualifying matches coming up.
“I don’t have any thoughts about it right now,” Guiao told the Inquirer in a message Tuesday night from Tehran, where he is preparing Gilas Pilipinas for its showdown against Iran. “I’m focusing instead on our game vs Iran on Thursday.”
Reyes resigned as national coacjh Tuesday evening, saying he will now focus on the buildup of the squad for the 2023 World Cup which the country is hosting. Reyes announced his resignation on his Twitter account (@coachot), where he also cited the PBA’s decision to allow more players to suit up for the national team as a reason to move on.
Reyes’ resignation also comes at the heels of reports that he is due to be replaced by Guiao, who gained favor with the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas after whipping a two-week-old national team into competitive form despite its main man, NBA standout Jordan Clarkson, joining the squad five days before the start of the tournament.
Guiao’s stock also rose when the PBA opened its doors to him and several players shoed up for his practice sessions. That gave rise to talk that he could be the coach who could unite an often-fractured group of basketball stakeholders.
But Guiao refused to comment on anything pending the job at hand, saying he will discuss everything with Gilas patron Manny V. Pangilinan and SBP president Al Panlilio “after our game in Qatar on Monday.”
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