Guiao on being permanent PH coach: ‘If they give it to me formally, I will accept it’
The moment Chot Reyes resigned as national coach, Yeng Guiao was put in the spotlight.
He whipped a two-week old squad into fighting form for the Asian Games despite its top player, Jordan Clarkson, joining the team just five days before the tournament started. He kept a suspension-crippled Gilas Pilipinas in the thick of things against Iran until he ran out of tricks to offset the team’s hypothermia-hit shooting in Tehran.
There is no other coach in the horizon that would be a suitable successor to Reyes’ post. But Guiao refused to address the issue until he was done with the Fiba qualifying window he was tasked with.
And as that window came to a close via a closed-door 92-81 victory over a fast-starting Qatar Monday night at Smart Araneta Coliseum, Guiao finally addressed the vacancy but hedged on making any commitment pending a formal announcement from the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas on his appointment.
“If they give it to me formally, I will accept it,” said Guiao.
It would be laughable, said the fiery mentor, to do otherwise.
“These guys play through cut foreheads and bleeding noses and show up even with their wives pregnant (at home),” said Guiao. “What kind of a hardship would it be for me to leave them? What kind of a person would I be if I do that?”
There even won’t be any need for long-drawn negotiations.
“We are not talking about money anyway,” he said. “(SBP officials) just told us to play, to coach, and they did not promise us anything. We just want to be of service (to the country).”
Ryan Gregorio, who is a scout for the national team, said Guiao’s effect on the national program is evident. The talent depth of the national pool has expanded exponentially since he took over the reins on an interim basis.
“The only problem with coach Yeng is a great problem,” Gregorio said. “Everybody wants to play for him. Marcio (Lassiter) had his forehead cut open in the game against Iran. When we flew back here, he had it stitched immediately so he can play against Qatar.”
But even informally, Guiao doesn’t want to talk about the head coaching post beyond the World Cup.
“If we don’t qualify, (I’ll quit),” he said. “Only shows that I ‘m not up to the task.”
“It’s about milestones,” he added. “It’s about delivering the objective, why you’re there. If our goal is the World Cup and we don’t make it, as coach, you should resign.”
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