RAIN or Shine coach Yeng Guiao has backed calls for the naturalization of more players for Gilas Pilipinas, which he has vowed to support in Congress in his capacity as a first-term representative from Pampanga.
Guiao said the national team program should waste no time looking for more candidates for naturalization to serve as a back-up option for Marcus Douthit ahead of Gilas' stint in next year's Fiba World Cup in Spain.
“Kailangan natin ng malaki. Kaya nga kung pupunta tayo dun sa world championships, siguro ngayon pa lamang nagsisimula na tayong mag-plano sa pag-naturalize,” Guiao told Spin.ph during a break in the plenary session at the House of Representatives.
Now is also the perfect time to push for more naturalization candidates in Congress, with the nation still on a high following Gilas Pilipinas' runner-up finish in the last Fiba-Asia championships, he added.
He has offered his help in the naturalization proceedings of the next candidate.
“Since ginawa na natin kay Douthit, palagay ko hindi naman na magdadalawang isip (tumulong),” the lawmaker/ coach said. “Panawagan ko nga hindi lang isa ang i-naturalzie - dapat dalawa na."
“Kamukha nung nangyari kay Marcus, na-injure. At least may ready tayong kapalit. And one more thing to consider is the age factor of Douthit.”
Guiao, coach of the all-pro team that took part in the 2009 Fiba-Asia tournament in Beijing, said Gilas should go for young seven-footers in light of the experience it had in trying to stop Iran's 7-2 slotman Hamed Hadadi in the title match.
“Kailangan ganoon katangkad. Nakita natin 'yung pangangailangan sa big man sa ginawa ni Hamed Hadadi nung nakaraang finals,” said Guiao.
Guiao agreed with suggestions to evaluate former PBA imports Michael Dunigan and Adam Parada for naturalization, but insisted Gilas should cast a wider net.
“Pero hindi natin dapat i-limit sa naging import lang natin. We should explore more. Sa US madami dun. Sa US NCAA marami doon na borderline NBA players. Pwedeng prospects yun,” said the Pampanga lawmaker.