Guiao confident Ravena, Alas can step up for Gilas in Romeo absence
Kevin Alas and NLEX teammate Kiefer Ravena during the Gilas send-off. Kiev Iz Kresta

NLEX coach Yeng Guiao has mixed emotions about Gilas Pilipinas possibly playing without Terrence Romeo at least in the first game of the Fiba World Cup qualifiers against Japan on Friday in Tokyo.

While acknowledging what the national team could miss in Romeo, Guiao is well aware it could be an opportunity for the other guards to show their wares.

“It could be a blessing in disguise,” Guiao told mediamen including News5 sports reporter Lyn Olavario after their tune-up game against Gilas on Saturday morning. “Of course, they will miss Terrence.”

“The incredible talent of Terrence is going to be missed, but I think there are some guys who can step up and be able to make contributions in his absence,” he reiterated.

Coincidentally, two of those playmakers are Guiao's Road Warriors wards in Kiefer Ravena and Kevin Alas.

“Kiefer's going to be there and si Kevin could be a candidate. Syempre paborito ko dahil players ko yung dalawa,” Guiao said with a smile. “Eh matutuwa kami kung makakapasok sila sa 12-man lineup. That could be a blessing in disguise."

Ravena and Alas are fighting for spots as Jayson Castro's backup point guards.

Castro, though, didn't see action in the tune-up game that Gilas won, 95-87, while naturalized player Andray Blatche has yet to arrive from China.

And Guiao feels the absence of the two standouts in the tune-up game factored in the shorthanded Road Warriors managing to stand toe to toe against the national team before folding.

“They rested Jayson and Andray Blatche is arriving,' the former national coach said. “If you have those two guys healthy and available to play, I'm pretty confident that coach Chot and the coaching staff are going to be able to accomplish the mission.”

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