Guiao names 20-man Gilas Pool: Any surprises?

Philippine Basketball National Team, the Gilas, Head Coach Joseller “Yeng” Guiao, along with the Samahang Basketboll ng Pilipinas (SBP) and the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA), released the names of the players who will compose the 20-man pool for the fifth window of the FIBA World Cup Asian Qualifiers on Tuesday, November  6, 2018.

The announcement was made during the halftime of the Magnolia Hotshots-Blackwater Elite quarterfinals match-up of the PBA Governor’s Cup.

As expected, his selection include most of the players who played during the fourth window and Asian Games and those who are coming back from suspension due to the incident involving the Australian Boomers last July.

The surprises: (1) no Andray Blatche and Terrence Romeo; (2) LA Tenorio and Arwind Santos are back; and (3) No Kobe Paras for the cadets.

Here’s the 20-man pool:

(1) Paul Lee,
(2) Stanley Pringle,
(3) Alex Cabagnot,
(4) Marcio Lassiter,
(5) Scottie Thompson,
(6) LA Tenorio,
(7) Gabe Norwood,
(8) Japeth Aguilar,
(9) Beau Belga,
(10) John Paul Erram,
(11) Ian Sangalang,
(12) Christian Standhardinger,
(13) Jayson Castro,
(14) Matthew Wright,
(15) Troy Rosario,
(16) Arwind Santos,
(17) June Mar Fajardo,
(18) Greg Slaughter,
with the last two lots belonging to Gilas cadets
(18) Ricci Rivero, and
(20) Kai Sotto

Guiao also bared that this was proposed by SBP to the coaching staff and it was accepted by the PBA. He also said everybody in the lineup has a chance to make the final 12, although they might need to make an initial cut of around 15 before the exhibition games.

Where’s Blatche and Romeo

Not surprisingly, many were caught by surprise with the non-inclusion of the team’s original naturalized player and the supposed next face of the team.

Guiao explained that the tough decision to exclude them was for the best at least for this window.

The fiery mentor noted the stakeholders want to preserve chemistry that was built during the Asian Games and the fourth window when the team had Pringle and Standhardinger as naturalized players.

He also emphasized that Standhardinger produced numbers that cannot be argued against during the said events, warranting his being deserving of the slot. He also pointed out the limitation on the utilization of Blatche since he will be only available in the game against Iran due to suspension.

On the case of Romeo, Guiao said there’s just too much talent in the guard position which prevented his inclusion.

However, Guiao did not completely shut the door on Blatche and Romeo’s participation to the team as he said they will be considered for the next window of the qualifiers.

Blatche expressed being lost and confused  through Instagram after being left out of the pool. He earlier express his willingness to go to war and was just waiting for his phone to ring.

Here come the Lieutenant and the Spiderman!

On the other hand, Guiao cited the elevated play of both Tenorio and Santos in the Governor’s Cup to merit their inclusion. He said he wants the duo to practice with the team and see how they will blend in.

The Philippine National Team is set to face Jordan on November 19 and 21, and Lebanon on November 23 and 25 in a series of tune-up game as part of its preparations for the fifth window.

Gilas is currently at third place in Group F with a 5-3 card. The team will start training camp on November 12, to prepare for the fifth window matches against Kazakhstan on November 30 and Iran on December 3, both here at home.

Meanwhile, Guiao revealed he is now officially the head coach of Gilas Pilipinas. “It’s no longer interim coach, no longer temporary. I will be the coach until the World Cup,” he said during the press conference.

By: ARMANDO M. BOLISLIS

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