FORMER Gilas Pilipinas coach Yeng Guiao batted for adjustments to the PBA schedule as well as regular training camps in Europe during a meeting with Samahang Basketball ng Pilipinas (SBP) bosses in the wake of the national team's dismal performance in the Fiba Basketball World Cup.
Guiao bared he made the suggestions during a meeting with SBP chairman emeritus Manny V. Pangilinan, president Al Panlilio, and vice chairman Ricky Vargas on Tuesday, just hours after the team's arrival from Beijing where Gilas placed dead last among 32 nations in the global conclave.
Guiao said the PBA schedule should not only be shortened, it should also be set in advance to conform with the Gilas schedule well ahead of time, now that Fiba has adopted a home-and-away format for the qualifiers.
“Actually, sinuggest ko rin ‘yan,” said Guiao, referring to the shortening of the PBA season. “Ang sinasabi ko rin kahapon sa usapan namin, kung kunyari this year, meron tayong importanteng international commitment, hindi puwedeng this year lang, aayusin mo ‘yung schedule ng PBA. Dapat, three years, four years advance, meron ka nang window to train your national team.”
“Hindi ‘yung taon lang na ito dahil maglalaro tayo sa Olympics, maglalaro tayo sa World Cup, maglalaro tayo sa Asian Games, ngayong taon na ‘to, ayusin natin ‘yung window. Hindi,” said Guiao.
Guiao also suggested that members of the national team should train in Europe every year during the offseason.
“USA is no longer the mecca of basketball. Europe is the mecca of basketball. If you want to get better, you better be in Europe. If you want to play good basketball, you better be in Europe,” said Guiao.
Guiao said the ongoing Fiba Basketball World Cup speaks volumes of the supremacy of Europe in basketball with 12 of the 16 teams in the second round all coming from the continent.
“There are no African teams. There are no Asian teams. The other four teams are US and Latin America. So what does that tell us? Those were our discussions na sinasabi ko sa mga bossing natin,” said Guiao.
Guiao said training in Europe doesn’t mean Gilas will start winning games against these European teams. But he believes constant exposure will soon narrow the gap to the point where an upset will be possible.
“Sinasabi ko kasi sa mga boss natin, kahit bigyan niyo kami two, three months, nag-Europe kami, hindi rin namin kayang talunin ‘yung Italy at Serbia. Baka siguro lalapit lang ‘yung lamang, pero hindi rin natin tatalunin.”
“Pero kung two, three, four years, nasa Europe ka every year for two months, baka puwede mo nang chambahan because it’s a mental adjustment rin,” said Guiao.
Guiao cited the experience of Gilas guard Kiefer Ravena playing in a tuneup game with NLEX upon his arrival from the World Cup to stress his point.
“Dito napreskuhan ako dahil kapag juma-jump shot ako, medyo nakikita ko na ‘yung ring. Last week, nung juma-jump shot ako, hindi ko makita ‘yung ring,” said Guiao, sharing his conversation with Ravena.
“Kailangan ma-adjust mo sarili mo na ganun parati ang laro. Ngayon, kung once a year ka lang maglalaro nun, mabibigla ka pa rin. Nakakabigla pa rin ‘yun. Para hindi ka mabigla, kailangan natin gawin ‘yun on a regular basis for our national team,” said Guiao.
Guiao admitted the PBA schedule and the absence of a lengthy training camp were the biggest challenges in the preparation of this year's World Cup team, but he readily accepted the limitations.
“Totoo naman ‘yun, sinabi ko rin, when I accepted the job, alam ko ‘yung conditions, alam ko ‘yung limitations. When you accept the challenge, alam mo na ganun. The results come out, pananagutan mo pa rin ‘yun.
“Although of course, we had continuing talks with Commissioner Willie Marcial and the PBA kung puwedeng mabigyan pa kami ng oras. Kaya lang, alam ko naman na parang humirit ka lang na alam mong malabo nang mapagbigyan,” Guiao said.