TWO spots remain open in the Asian Games-bound Philippine team after coach Yeng Guiao bared that Paul Lee is secured of his spot on Tuesday.
Asked if his longtime playmaker, who is on top of his wishlist when building this roster, is already a shoo-in after the evening practice at Meralco Gym, the fiery mentor answered in the affirmative, saying, "Yeah."
Lee joins the first nine players Guiao regarded as locks, together with Rain or Shine's Gabe Norwood, James Yap, Chris Tiu, Beau Belga, Raymond Almazan, and Maverick Ahanmisi, San Miguel big man Christian Standhardinger, GlobalPort slasher Stanley Pringle and Blackwater slotman JP Erram.
That leaves two spots still up for grabs, making the race for the four remaining players in the pool a tight one.
Asi Taulava, the oldest player in the squad at 45, is in the hunt for his third run in the continental showpiece, while TNT forward Don Trollano is hoping to join his former Rain or Shine teammates in the campaign.
Cadets are also in the running, with Ricci Rivero proving his commitment with the team by rushing straight from the airport from Serbia to the team's first practice on Monday, while Kobe Paras practiced with the squad back in opening day though excused himself on Tuesday's session after being under the weather.
Regardless who Guiao chooses for the final slots to fly for Indonesia come August 14, the seasoned bench tactician is happy with how the hastily-formed squad is adapting despite only having two practices under their belt.
"There’s a lot of improvements, actually. The way we're running our plays from yesterday, I think medyo nakukuha na nila ang mga concepts and timing ng play. We ran the plays a lot better today," he said.