Despite past feud, Yeng Guiao appreciates Chris Ross’ offer to help Gilas training
MANILA, Philippines—Missing players in practices have been an all too common occurrence in Gilas Pilipinas’ preparation for the 2019 Fiba Basketball World Cup that head coach Yeng Guiao is thankful for every bit of help he can get.
With Andray Blatche back in the fold, Gilas’ practice session on Thursday went smoothly but there were still missing faces like NorthPort rookie Robert Bolick and five-time PBA MVP June Mar Fajardo.
Guiao understands that some of the national team players couldn’t regularly attend practices because of their commitment to their club teams in the PBA especially heading into playoffs of the Commissioner’s Cup.
Though there are absences, there are also players who have been willing to help the national team.
Guiao said that San Miguel guard Chris Ross and NLEX center, and former national team player Asi Taulava have volunteered to be practice players for Gilas Pilipinas.
“A lot of guys are volunteering, Chris Ross is volunteering, and it’s quite easy for us to get warm bodies if we need to but as much as possible we want those in the pool to be here,” said Guiao in Filipino.
Ross is one of the league’s most accomplished players having won seven titles, two Finals MVPs, and a Best Player of the Conference award but he has never represented the Philippines since he didn’t clear a Philippine passport before he turned 16-years-old.
Players such as Stanley Pringle and Ross’ San Miguel teammate Christian Standhardinger played for Gilas in the Asian Qualifiers but were put in the roster as naturalized citizens despite their Filipino descent.
Guiao also appreciated Ross’ desire to help the team despite their history. The two were penalized a total of P13,600 after a verbal altercation in January of 2018.
“I’m just saying that he volunteered, and we appreciate that,” said Guiao who just had to smile.
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