NATIONAL coach Yeng Guiao said he understands the disappointment of Andray Blatche over his non-inclusion in the Team Pilipinas pool for the coming Fiba Basketball World Cup Asian qualifiers window.
Blatche didn’t hide his disappointment for not being included in the 20-man national pool for home matches against Kazakhstan on November 30 and Iran on December 3, saying he was “lost” and “confused” about the decision in an Instagram post.
Blatche has been the naturalized player of the Philippines since 2014 when the country played in the Fiba World Cup in Spain. The former NBA player's three-game suspension for his role in the Gilas-Australia brawl will end after the game against Kazakhstan.
Guiao said he understands Blatche’s reaction to the snub, but made it clear that the decision was a consensus arrived at by officials of the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) and the PBA and the coaching staff.
“I can feel for him,” Guiao said. “I can symphatize with him. He probably expected to be in the pool.”
“But ‘yun nga, after thorough consultation, talagang pinag-aralan namin, talagang inassess, nag-evaluate kami. And it went through different levels, from coaching staff, assistant coaches, head coach, SBP, PBA, talagang ibig sabihin pasado.
"Walang kumontra o walang nag-recommend otherwise. I felt that we have to follow through on that decision,” said Guiao.
Guiao said he is willing to speak to Blatche about the decision if needed, although the NLEX coach admitted he is not sure if his words will have a weight on Blatche.
“I can do that. I feel na maybe if I can talk to him, maybe I can siguro lessen the disappointment. But I really don’t know how he values my counsel kasi hindi pa kami nagkasama, wala kaming connection, we don’t really personally know each other, we haven’t been together so I don’t know if he is going to value that," said Guiao.
Guiao reiterated Blatche will still be considered for the next Fiba window after the “experiment” of going all-Filipino for the matches against Kazakhstan and Iran.
“Sinasabi ko naman na this is an experiment. We play a big team in Iran and Kazakhstan. Kapag naramdaman na kulang si June Mar, kulang pa si Slaughter, kulang pa si Japeth, kulang pa si Standhardinger, babalik din tayo sa kanya.
"[For now], we have to, I think, give the experiment a chance,” said Guiao.