FORMER national team coach Yeng Guiao believes the two-month preparation being undertaken by Gilas Pilipinas is enough for the team to hit top form in time for the Fiba-Asia Men’s Championship in August.
He said the nationals have the remaining months of June and July to jell within with the system of coach Chot Reyes as they prepare to take on the best teams of Asia.
“Palagay ko enough `yun (two-month preparation). Kasi `yung ginagawa natin para din naman gaya ng ibang bansa na may mga liga ring nilalaruan ang mga players nila. Tapos pag malapit na competition, saka sila bumabalik para mag-practice sa national team nila,” said Guiao, the head coach of Rain or Shine.
At the same time, Guiao said he understood the decision of Reyes to put the country in the company of 2011 Fiba-Asia runner up Jordan, Chinese-Taipei, and Saudi Arabia in Group A during the formal drawing of lots Thursday for the August 1-11 tournament which the country is hosting for the first time after four decades.
Guiao, who steered the Powerade-backed national team to the quarterfinals of the 2009 Fiba-Asia tilt in Tianjin, China, said Chot may be up to something that people are not aware of.
“We have to respect that decision of Chot on how he determined that situation because he’s more informed dahil may scouting report naman siya as well as the gut feel kung ano ang pagdadaanan nila,” Guiao shared to Spin.ph.
But giving his take on the 16-team draw without the benefit of scouting reports, Guiao said he preferred Group D which has Kazakhstan, Bahrain, India, and the champion of the Southeast Asia qualifier.
“If the groups are taken at face value, `yung walang scout or gut feel, `yung Group D maganda ring piliin. Saka I think kaya din naman natin kapag na-join na tayo sa Group C.
“I think kahit maka-fourth place sila after the second round, makaka-harap mo sa kabila `yung No. 1 ng grupo. Para siyang easier way, though we don’t have the inside information that Chot has,” Guiao observed.
Group C is definitely the strongest of the four brackets as it has no less than three former champions bunched together in reigning titlist China, Iran, and South Korea, together with the runner-up of the Southeast Asia qualifier.
Nevertheless, Guiao believes Gilas goal of a top three finish in the tournament serving as qualifier to next year’s Fiba-World Championship in Spain is doable considering the PBA backed up Reyes by lending its players to the national team.
The league even went to the extent of adjusting the league’s schedule to give way to the national squad’s preparation this year.