Coach Yeng left with bigger mission to heal
The final score—93-75—said much about a comfortable finish, bordering on a blowout, against Kazakhstan. But that’s not how the entire journey of the Philippine national basketball team back to the World Cup center stage should be viewed.
It was indeed an epic trip, but one replete with agonizing halts and terrible twists.
It’s no doubt mission accomplished for replacement national coach Yeng Guiao.
Guiao, in victory, was quick to single out the noble team-up between the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) and the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) which lent top players to Gilas Pilipinas.
Guiao credited coach Chot Reyes for his tremendous effort in building up the national squad.
Big man Andray Blatche, of course, will be on top of the big story, with his overpowering 41-point explosion that sent the ambitious Kazakhs reeling in dismay.
Guiao, in triumph, was quick to say they just provided the finishing touches—make that read healing touches.
It was a tough act, how Guiao had to pick up the wounded national outfit, decimated and scattered, following an ugly brawl against Australia at the Philippine Arena last July.
It would be an arduous comeback as the Nationals were beset by setbacks, topped by the crushing humiliation against Kazakhstan in the fifth window of the Fiba qualifiers at Mall of Asia last November.
The national team had had to be helped back on its feet.
But didn’t main man Blatche, notorious for his lardy prima donna ways, himself have to be healed before he could be readmitted into the Gilas fold?
It’s no secret how Blatche howled in protest after Guiao cut him from the national line-up before the fifth window, wherein coach Yeng tried to experiment with a tall local line-up, to no avail.
The harsh junking definitely worked wonders for Blatche, as he reported trim and renewed for the sixth window of the Fiba qualifiers.
Guiao clicks with his unique, strict and wise ways on the Gilas bench.
It’s not by mere chance that things suddenly fell into place, there was Guiao magnificently orchestrating in that crucial game against Kazakhstan in Astana early Monday morning.
Guiao’s heroics should be a signal for healing and renewal in Philippine basketball.
This certainly is the start of something very good.
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