Guiao focused on Iran, names final roster
The suddenly vacant Gilas Pilipinas head coaching position has thrust Yeng Guiao into even more spotlight, as coach Chot Reyes’ decision to step down from his post lined up the fiery NLEX mentor in the PBA as the natural successor to the position.
But Guiao was not ready to tackle the issue just yet, not with a more important job at hand.
“I don’t have thoughts about it right now,” Guiao told the Inquirer via a text message from Tehran, where the national men’s team will face Iran in a Fiba World Cup qualifying match on Thursday. “I’m focusing on our game vs Iran … [and] I will also have to prepare the team further for our game against Qatar on Monday.”
So it was business as usual for Guiao Wednesday, who announced the 12 players that will face the Asian heavyweights, who may miss star center Hamed Haddadi, who is reportedly suffering from a groin injury.
The final 12 who will battle Iran at 8 p.m. Thursday are: Raymond Almazan, Beau Belga, Alex Cabagnot, Paul Lee, JP Erram, Marcio Lassiter, Allein Malicsi, Gabe Norwood, Ian Sangalang, Christian Standhardinger, Asi Taulava and Scottie Thompson.
Almazan, Belga, Lee, Erram, Norwood and Standhardinger were teammates in the Asian Games, where the Philippines finished at fifth spot. Lassiter, the San Miguel Beer gunslinger, will be making a comeback to the national team while playmakers Cabagnot and Thompson will be making their debuts with the Gilas program.
Haddadi has been a target of injury speculations, with some media outlets hitting at the secrecy that the Iran basketball federation is wrapping his status in.
The former Phoenix Sun in the NBA reportedly sustained his injury in the Asian Games, where the Iranians finished with a silver behind champion China.
Another key player, Arsalan Kazemi, is reportedly also injured and sources have said that both might play sparingly.
Reyes stepped down as national coach Tuesday night, saying he will focus on building the team for the 2023 World Cup that the country is hosting.
“Now that the PBA has opened its doors fully to the SBP and the national team, it is time for me to step aside and contribute in a different capacity, focusing on the 2023 program,” Reyes posted on his Twitter account (@coachot).
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