TEAM Pilipinas coach Yeng Guiao is eyeing tune-up games with Australia as part of the buildup for the Fiba Basketball World Cup which he mend the wounds for both sides after a brawl that marred a qualifier last July.
Guiao said he wants Gilas to play tune-up games with the Australian national team, neighbor New Zealand as well as European teams in the lead-up to the Philippines' participation in the August 30-September 15 showpiece in China.
The national coach said the tune-up games with Australia can help rebuild the relationship between the two countries following the melee that marred their World Cup qualifier at the Philippine Arena in Bulacan.
In the aftermath of the brawl, 10 players from Gilas Pilipinas and three from Australia were handed suspensions ranging from one to six games. Then national coach Chot Reyes was suspended for one game and later replaced by Guiao.
“We’ve all learned from our mistakes, both sides. Natuto na tayo. I’m sure, ‘yung Australia natuto na rin sa nangyari,” said Guiao on Tuesday during the Philippine Sportswriters Association (PSA) Forum at the Amelie Hotel Manila.
Aside from the goodwill, Guiao said playing tune-up games with Australia as well as New Zealand are practical in terms of travel time.
“On the practical side, mas malapit ‘yung Australia at New Zealand kesa magpunta tayo sa Europe to play the same brand of basketball that we really need to experience ourselves.
“Iniisip ko rin siguro ‘yung gaining back ‘yung goodwill for both sides and trying to restore our relationship with Australia and trying to put that behind us. I think enough time has passed para makalimutan na natin ‘yun.
“Everytime we think about Australia, ‘yun ang naiisip natin. Kailangan palitan na natin ‘yung memory na ‘yun ng positive one. Kaya ko lang din naisip ‘yun. And it’s also practical for both teams."
Guiao also said during the PSA Forum supported by San Miguel, Pagcor, Amelie Hotel, and the Philippine Sports Commission, that Australia and New Zealand can play tune-up games in the Philippines before heading to China.
“Makakapagensayo din sila ng malapit sa kanila. On their way to China, puwede silang dumaan dito. Tayo naman, puwede rin tayo mag-tuneup sa New Zealand bago mag-China,” said Guiao.