YENG Guiao has vowed his hastily assembled Gilas Pilipinas side will fight to the end just to make the country proud in the 2018 Asian Games in Indonesia.
The outspoken NLEX mentor is looking to make the most of the opportunity after the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) had a change of heart on Sunday and decided to send a men’s basketball team to the continental showpiece.
“We will pose no excuses,” he said. “Alam natin na hindi ito yung primary talents natin dahil yung ibang players are not available, especially the teams that are in the finals and those players coming from yung regular national team. But be that as it may, ang tingin ko very competitive pa rin 'yung team na ito.”
Paul Lee spearheads this Gilas squad as he reunites with former Rain or Shine teammates Gabe Norwood, Beau Belga, Raymond Almazan, Chris Tiu, Maverick Ahanmisi, and Don Trollano, who’s already in TNT.
Also part of this national team is James Yap, the player the Elasto Painters swapped Lee for with Magnolia, Christian Standhardinger, Stanley Pringle, JP Erram, Asi Taulava, as well as cadets Kobe Paras and Ricci Rivero.
Guiao is banking on familiarity with this hastily formed group, knowing that though he only has eight days to prepare for the quadrennial event, what he has are players who are more that capable of running his system.
“We have eight days of practice. That’s really very short to whip up a competitive team, but as I’ve said, ang malaking bagay dito is yung familiarity namin with the Rain or Shine guys, and even the guys na wala na sa Rain or Shine,” he said.
And the goal is clear for this team: better the country’s seventh place finish in the 2014 Asian Games in Incheon while also erasing the embarrasment from that edition in the process, where Marcus Douthit shot at the Philippines’ own goal in a desperate move to force overtime against Kazakhstan.
“Yung marching order sa amin kanina is try to get better than seventh place. Kung kaya pang mas mataas, of course you go for it,” Guiao said.
“There’s a certain factor of luck getting into the equation, pero depende yan sa mga groupings saka sa mga makakatapat niyo. But we will pose no excuses. We will just play hard for the county. We will try to give our best and make our countrymen proud of us.”
“Ang constraint lang dito is yung preparation time, but we will work overtime. Cramming ito, kumbaga sa pag-aaral ng test for exams, nagka-cram tayo. Magaling naman tayo mag-cram.”