THE Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) accepted 'with a heavy heart' the resignation of Gilas Pilipinas coach Yeng Guiao, who took over when Philippine basketball was in one of its darkest hours.
SBP president Al S. Panlilio praised Guiao for taking on the job after being put in an ‘unenviable task of picking up the pieces’ for the national team at a time when the program was in shambles.
According to the SBP, officials tried to talk Guiao out of resigning, but the veteran coach could no longer be swayed.
“It is with heavy heart that we accept coach Yeng’s resignation as the head coach of Gilas Pilipinas Men’s,” said Panlilio. “The SBP thanked him for his contributions and wishes him well in all his future endeavors.”
Guiao inherited the reins after the Gilas team was almost wiped out following the suspensions handed out by FIBA in the aftermath of the brawl that marred the World Cup qualifier between Australia and the Philippines.
A total of 10 players were meted suspensions of varying lengths, along with coach Chot Reyes and top deputy Jong Uichico.
“Even if the odds were stacked against him from the start, he took on the challenge head on and gave it his best shot,” said Panlilio in a statement shortly after Guiao resigned as coach of the men’s national team on Wednesday.
The SBP president added Guiao was the common choice to replace Reyes and take over the Gilas program.
“His selection to take over was unanimous and it spoke volumes about the respect that he has gained throughout his career from all members of the Philippine basketball community,” said Panlilio.
Pressed for time, Guiao had to assemble a hastily-former Gilas team to the 18th Asian Games in Jakarta, Indonesia and steered the Filipinos to a fighting fifth-place finish.
After struggling a bit when he finally coached the national team in the World Cup qualifiers, the 60-year-old mentor had to make some last-minute adjustments in order to steer the Filipinos to a second straight stint in the FIBA World Cup.
Too bad, the Gilas campaign in the China world meet didn’t meet expectations as the team tumbled to last place after failing to win a single game and losing five matches by an average of 29.4 points.
A day after returning from the World Cup, Guiao was humble enough to submit his resignation before the SBP.