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    Guiao challenges JMF and Co. to prove PH team can beat Iran without Blatche

    Nov 7, 2018

    YENG Guiao considers the absence of naturalized big man Andray Blatche from the Team Pilipinas pool as some sort of 'an experiment.'

    According to the national coach, the Fiba World Cup qualifiers against Kazakhstan and Iran is a chance for June Mar Fajardo, Greg Slaughter, and his other big men to prove that the Philippines can stand its ground against the best in the continent with a purely all-Filipino lineup.

    "Can we play against the best? Say we play against Iran with their big guys without Andray Blatche?" asked Guiao. "But if we have June Mar, and we have Greg, and we have Christian Standhardinger, we have Japeth, we have Poy Erram, and the rest of those guys, at least lahat ito may dugong Pinoy."

    Even though Guiao had already explained the rationale behind the decision to leave out the 6-foot-11 Blatche in the training pool for the coming window of the FIBA World Cup qualifiers, there remains a lot who were not convinced.

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    Guiao however, believes there's nothing wrong in trying.

    "At least baka kaya nating mga Pinoy," he said. "Kung hindi naman, magpatulong tayo. Pero kung kaya natin, kayanin natin."

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      As Guiao earlier stressed, Blatche will always be considered for the next window of the qualifiers by next year.

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      "Siguro kapag makita natin na nahihirapan tayo o hindi natin kaya, then he's always an option," said the national team coach.

      For the record, the last time the Philippines beat a complete Iran team with big man Hamed Haddadi around, was during the 2015 FIBA Asia Championship in China, 87-73, with Blatche and Jayson Castro leading the way.

      Can the Filipinos replicate the feat against Iran on Dec. 3?

      That we gotta see.

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