TEAM Pilipinas coach Yeng Guaio did not close the possibility that even even youngsters Kai Sotto and Ricci Rivero can make the final roster of the national team that will see action in the for the fifth window of the 2019 FIBA World Cup Asian Qualifiers.
The Nationals will face Kazakhstan on November 30 and Iran on December 3, both games at the MOA Arena.
“Meron, meron (silang chance),” said Guiao on Monday night during the team’s first practice at Meralco gym. “Actually, the reason they're here is they're one of the guys with the opportunity to fight for a slot in the 12-man lineup.”
Sotto, 16, and Rivero, 20, will have to prove to the veteran mentor that they deserve the spot.
The two will be up against the much-experienced PBA standouts June Mar Fajardo, Beau Belga, Gabe Norwood, Matthew Wright, Arwind Santos, Jayson Castro, Troy Rosario, Alex Cabagnot, Poy Erram, Marcio Lassiter, Paul Lee, Ian Sangalang, LA Tenorio, Scottie Thompson, Greg Slaughter, Japeth Aguilar, Christian Standhardinger and Stanley Pringle.
But Guiao stressed that Sotto, who stands 7-foot-1, and do-it-all guard Rivero cannot be disregarded.
“So kahit na sabihin natin na ang basic purpose natin is for their development, who knows?” he said. “Hindi natin alam baka magpakita sila (ng kakayahan nila).”
“So I'm not discounting that possibility (to include them in the final lineup). It might be a little bit remote but it's still a possibility,” he added.