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Not in one basket

Guiao has another suggestion on how Gilas Pilipinas could hold its own in the 2023 World Cup, and that is giving the coach a lot of options in choosing his naturalized player
By: - Reporter / @cedelfptINQ
/ 04:04 AM May 12, 2020

Former Gilas Pilipinas coach Yeng Guiao believes the country needs to secure the services of not just a single naturalized player, but a pool of reinforcements to stand a better chance of maximizing their abilities in helping the national team.With the country cohosting the 2023 Fiba World Cup, Guiao stressed the importance of acquiring a top-notch naturalized player who could help the Philippines make its mark in the tournament.

The country had Marcus Douthit as its naturalized player until 2014, before Andray Blatche beefed up the team for the country’s return in the Fiba World Cup in Spain six years ago.

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But Blatche has put up a string of underwhelming performances in recent tournaments for Gilas Pilipinas, including in the Fiba World Cup in China, where the country finished its campaign without a win.“Let’s give ourselves some elbow room by naturalizing three to five players and let the coach decide who to take with him for tournaments,” Guiao said during the Hoop Coaches webinar last Sunday.

The names floated for naturalization include Ateneo center Ange Kouame and former PBA imports Justin Brownlee of Barangay Ginebra and Chris McCullough of San Miguel Beer.Guiao hopes the next Gilas squad should have the luxury of picking a naturalized player unlike when the team only had Blatche as its lone option.

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“Maybe in some [Fiba] windows or the Southeast Asian Games, you can tap [Ange] Kouame because he’s young and he can get some experience,” Guiao said.

“I guess having those options give us control of the naturalized player situation. You can include Justin Brownlee and [Chris] McCullough in the pool.”Brownlee has been a resident import of Barangay Ginebra in the PBA since 2016, winning four titles. McCullough, a former NBA first-round pick by the Washington Wizards in 2015, helped the Beermen claim the Commissioner’s Cup title last year and is a popular choice considering his ability to play outside despite his height.“Let’s not put all our eggs in one basket,” said Guiao. “I think it’s possible to have more naturalized players. Other countries are also doing it.” INQ

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TAGS: 2023 World Cup, Basketball, Gilas Pilipinas, Yeng Guiao
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