TEAM Pilipinas coach Yeng Guiao has submitted a lineup to the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas for the final window of the Fiba Basketball World Cup Asian qualifiers set next month.
Guiao declined to reveal the identity of the players named to the pool after a meeting between the coaching staff and the SBP, but admitted naturalized player Andray Blatche is part of the roster.
“We met last Tuesday with the SBP and the coaching staff. We are going to start practicing on January 21st,” said Guiao on Thursday during the PBA Media Day at the Solaire Resort and Casino.
“We already submitted the lineup to SBP and it’s up to the SBP to make it public,” Guiao said.
When asked about Blatche, Guiao said: “Andray Blatche is in the lineup.”
With Gilas at 5-5 in Group F, the national squad faces make-or-break games in the sixth and final window against Qatar on February 21 and against Kazakhstan on February 24, both on the road.
Only the top three teams in Groups E and F and the best fourth-placed team in the second round of the qualifiers will make it to the 2019 Fiba Basketball World Cup.
Guiao also hopes to get permission from the PBA to hold twice-a-week practices beginning January 21 in order to prepare for the two crucial games.
“We will talk to the PBA to request na instead of once a week, maging twice a week ang practice namin,” said Guiao.
Guiao said there is no timetable yet on Blatche's arrival.
“Gusto namin ASAP eh. Kung pwede January, pero kung hindi naman puwede, baka first week of February,” said Guiao.
Is he okay with the February arrival of Blatche, Guiao was asked.
“As long as he is in shape. ‘Yun ang hindi natin malalaman hangga’t hindi natin siya makikita,” said Guiao.