ANTIPOLO – It is what it is.
Coach Yeng Guiao said Team Pilipinas will just have to deal with what’s been laid down in front of them as part of their preparation for the FIBA World Cup.
On Thursday, the PBA Board decided that it cannot accommodate the national team’s participation in the Jones Cup as it will run smack into the league’s season calendar.
At the same time, earlier suggestion to have naturalized player Andray Blatche to suit up as import in the mid-season Commissioner’s Cup was also given the thumbs down by the board owing to some technical issues.
Although Guiao was a bit disappointed, he nonetheless understands where the league is coming from.
“Mahirap nga namang tumigil na naman ng matagal. It’s going to be very difficult for the PBA to again suspend or play without their superstars,” said Guiao during the short press conference that followed the short ceremony where the league honored the entire Team Pilipinas at halftime of the Barangay Ginebra-Alaska game at the Ynares Center.
"Ako naman I always open up myself for a win-win solution," he added. "I don't want naman na ang PBA ay mag-sacrifice to the point na we're almost losing a conference or losing the purpose for which the other 12 teams were organized, which is to provide year-round basketball entertainment for the public."
"There should be a balance where we can serve the purpose of preparing for the World Cup and at the same time, not disruptt PBA's schedule too much. They've already sacrificed as it is.
The national coach isn't against playing in a friendly or pocket tournament as suggested by the league board during the same meeting.
But then again playing in such tournament doesn't offer the same competitiveness as the one Team Pilipinas get of ever it suits up in the Jones Cup.
"The problem with pocket tournaments and friendlies is you don't feel the kind of pressure that is close to the pressure that you feel in the World Cup," Guiao pointed out.
"Good thing about the Jones Cup is the level of competition is high, and it's really competition."
As for Blatche, Guiao's only concern is how fit the naturalized player will be heading into the Aug. 31 to Sept. 15 event in China.
Blatche will be ending up his stint in the Chinese Basketball Association (CBA) by March and is set to return to the U.S. for a short vacation.
The 6-foot-11 former NBA player suiting up as import in the Commissioner's Cup by May would have been a perfect avenue for him to stay in shape for the quadrennial cage meet.
"I've already indicated previously that in order to keep him close and in order to be able to have some control over his conditioning, his game shape. It would have been good if he's been able to stay in the Philippines before the World Cup and play in the PBA," said Guiao.
But height limit and which team gets the services of the New York native are two of the 'technical issues' mentioned by Guiao that hinders Team Pilipinas from pursuing the plan.
"We're not sure if he's going to make the height. And we're not sure where team is he going to," said the national mentor. "So given those uncertainties, again the chances of him playing as an import would be very slim."
The most the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) could make is bring Blacthe in the country earlier than expected.
"Now we have to look and find a way to get him here early and get him in shape and get him ready for the World Cup," according to Guiao.