NATIONAL coach Yeng Guiao say amateur players named to the Gilas pool have a legitimate shot at making the roster as the country prepares for the crucial final window of the Fiba World Cup qualifiers.
Kobe Paras, Ricci Rivero, Kai Sotto and recently, Thirdy Ravena, have been included in the national pool and Guiao said their call-ups weren't a mere stunt, much less an experiment.
Guiao stood firm on his plan, even as the moves have gotten negative reaction from netizens who feel that the national coach is experimenting with players that have no real chance of making the final 12.
“Gives them a lot of confidence, they learn a lot from the players, and aside from the fact that they have a real chance of making the team. We are investing in the next generation of players," said the multi-titled coach.
“Hindi naman iimbitahin sila kung tingin natin wala silang ka-chance chance,” added Guiao.
“I’ve always been looking at the next generation of players,” Guiao said. “Nung nag-umpisa kami, kasama si Ricci, Kobe, after nun sinama natin si Kai. Ngayon, si Thirdy naman. I think it’s a valuable experience to all these young guys to have a taste of how it is to play with the top players in the country.”
For the current pool, Ravena is positioned as back-up if Troy Rosario and Raymond Almazan remain unavailable for the the sixth and final window of the Fiba Basketball World Cup Asian qualifiers against Qatar and Kazakhstan.
“May chance sila and at the same time, it’s a chance for them, an opportunity to improve, an opportunity to for them to prepare themselves if they don’t make it for the next generation for the national team,” Guiao said.