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    Blatche or Standhardinger? Guiao says he has yet to make up mind

    Oct 31, 2018
    PHOTO: Jerome Ascano

    NATIONAL coach Yeng Guiao said there's a 'fifty-fifty chance' that Andray Blatche will be named to the Team Pilipinas pool ahead of key Fiba World Cup Asian qualifiers against Kazakhstan and Iran.

    Blatche and three other mainstays of the Gilas Pilipinas team that figured in a brawl with Australia last July will be eligible for selection for the grudge match against Iran on Dec. 3 at the Mall of Asia Arena.

    Like Blatche, Jayson Castro, Terrence Romeo and Troy Rosario's three-game suspensions for their roles in the July 2 melee will end after the Nov. 30 match against Kazakhstan.

    Guiao will name members of his pool on Nov. 6 (Tuesday) after a meeting with the PBA board and admitted he is considering Blatche, saying he may need the former NBA player to offset the size advantage of Iran.

    "It's fifty-fifty at this point," Guiao said. "We may need his size against Iran."

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      Guiao, however, said he has not been updated on the availability of Blatche, who no longer plays in China.

      "That I don't know. But my only mandate is to put together the best team for the qualifiers," the multi-titled coach said.

      Aside from Blatche, Guiao also has the option of choosing NorthPort star Stanley Pringle and San Miguel rookie Christian Standhardinger for the one spot reserved for a naturalized player in the two games.

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      The 6-foot-8 Standhardinger and Pringle played for Guiao both in the 2018 Asian Games in Indonesia and in the previous Fiba World Cup window where Team Pilipinas lost to Iran away but won at home against Qatar.

      Both gave a good account of themselves.

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      Pressed on his choice, Guiao said he has yet to make up his mind on who between Blatche and Standhardinger will join a much-improved frontline that is likely to include June Mar Fajardo, Greg Slaughter, and Japeth Aguilar.

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      "Most likely, it's a toss-up between Standhardinger and Blatche," Guiao said.

      The concurrent NLEX coach also made it clear that Blatche, Castro, Romeo, and Rosario will not automatically be part of the pool at the end of their suspensions.

      "But the chances of them making the pool are good," said Guiao, who also confirmed that teenager Kai Sotto will also be named to the pool.

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      PHOTO: Jerome Ascano
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