Guiao fears return to cadets will wipe out Gilas gains, set back program by 'five to 10 years'
Yeng Guiao feels Gilas is in the 'right direction' despite the failed campaign in the Fiba OQT as he bats for the continued participation of PBA players in the national team program. Jaime Campos

RAIN or Shine coach Yeng Guiao has expressed his apprehensions on Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) decision to revert to the original Gilas cadet program that will have top amateurs representing the country in international tournaments starting next year.

The looming return to the cadet program t comes in the wake of the Fiba decision to implement a new competition format starting next year where national teams, instead of competing in one continental championship, will play home-and-away games in six windows over two years to qualify for the World Cup.

The Fiba move has created a scheduling conflict with pro leagues in most countries including the Philippines, leaving the SBP not much choice but to turn to amateurs once again like it did when it first laid down the Gilas program under Rajko Toroman in 2009.

Guiao, however, believes the return to the original Gilas program will wipe put the gains recent pro-bannered national teams built in the country’s bid to get back to world basketball map, stressing the PBA is still where the best players in the country are.

“Kung hindi mo gagamitin ang best players mo, I don’t think we will succeed,” the former national coach told “Unang-una, it is common knowledge and it is accepted that they (Gilas cadets) will never be our best players.”

“That will set us back another five to ten years,” the outspoken mentor added. “Kasi nandito na tayo eh: all the Gilas programs, they’ve really put us in a position where we can now advance.”

[See Gilas needs tall guards to be competitive at world level, says Guiao]

Ginebra coach Tim cone earlier aired the same sentiment that turning to top amateurs will always be a downgrade from banking on pro standouts.

Guiao, who coached the last pro-loaded national team in 2009 before the SBP turned to amateurs the next two years, said it is also unfair to ask amateur stars to delay their plans to enter the PBA draft, which, he said, will deprive them of their chance to earn more as professionals.

“The second thing is, they (cadets) are also looking to build careers as professional basketball players,” Guiao said. “And you cannot ask them to dedicate the best years of their lives not really maximizing their earning capacity and just playing for the national team.”

However, Guiao admitted he, too, is at a loss for answers on a compromise for the PBA and the SBP on how to “still participate with our best players who are in the PBA and at the same time, not mess up the schedules.”


“I don’t know how to solve it, kasi schedule ang problema dun eh,” he said. “I know it’s not anybody’s fault because it’s really the scheduling.”

He nonetheless feels a compromise is doable.

“We can still find a compromise in trying to use PBA players and at the same time, taking care of yung interest ng teams with regards sa schedule,” he added. “I think that’s the thing we have to solve.”  

[See Tim Cone: 'To be successful, Gilas needs country's best players (from PBA)']

But one thing sure, Guiao said constant communication between PBA and the SBP, as well as constant participation in international competitions, is the only way for Gilas to sustain its gains in the global stage.

“All these teams that we’re playing against, their presence in the global level is constant. Tayo, minsan nandun, minsan wala. So kailangan maging constant din yung presence natin, yung competition at that level,” Guiao said.

“We’ve had a lot of basketball experience — with PBA, our teams … and maybe with the Asian side. But if you want to compete at the global stage, you have to have a lot of experience playing the European teams, playing the South American teams, the African teams, the US team,” he added.

“It should be a constant process na sila nakakalaro mo parati. And we’re in the right direction.”

Follow the writer on Twitter: @KarloSacamos