Philippines, 14 Dec 2018
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Pacquiao, Jawo and others support Guiao’s action on Blatche


PhilBoxing.com




This was how past and present athletes viewed national coach Yeng Guiao’s decision dropping naturalized player Andray Blatche from the national basketball pool in favor of promising local big men.

“It’s definitely a step in the right direction,” boxing icon Manny Pacquiao said in a text message sent to this writer when asked about his thoughts on the matter. “It’s about time that we really think of the future of the sport that happen to be our nation’s favorite pastime.”

“It’s been a long time since we last won an Asian championship and we need to think of ways on how we can bring back those glory days when we were dominating our neighbors here in the region,” the reigning World Boxing Association welterweight title holder said.

“And I’m sure that’s what coach Yeng was thinking when’s he made that decision,” the fighter-turned senator added. “It’s been a long time, too, that we’ve been waiting na magkaroon tayo ng matatangkad na players para magagamit sa international competitions. Now that they’re already here, samantalahin na natin.”

The only man in boxing history to win world titles in eight weight divisions was referring to a bevy of young tall campaigners in the mold of June Mar Fajardo, Greg Slaughter, Christian Standhardinger, Poy Erram and Kai Sotto whom Guiao named to the pool.

“We’re not sure, anyway, to win with Blatche in the lineup. Nobody knows nga if he’s in shape to compete. So let’s think of the future for a change,” Pacquiao, who is leaving on Saturday for the U.S. to grace the two-city press tour to hype his coming fight with challenger Adrien Broner, emphasized.

Local basketball’s living legend Robert Jaworski echoed the fighting Senator’s sentiment, saying that if Blatche’s competitive form is in doubt, “let’s proceed and start with a well defined plan of improving our chance in international basketball competitions.”

“Beginning with a philosophy that must guide us in our directions leading to our desired achievable objectives. Let’s start with a reorientation of some basic time tested fundamentals that unfortunately have been neglected and set aside,” the “Big-J”or “Jawo” to basketball netizens suggested.

“Obviously, if Mr. Blatche is in honest to goodness best shape physically and most especially passionately involved, he would be of great asset,” the former playing coach of Barangay Ginebra explained. “He shoots well from way out which is important in international tournaments. He cold compliment the center position when need arises.”

“But if he is made to elect to be overweight and makes the participation as national team member lightly and as a preparation to be in shape for other better offers lined up predominantly for his own personal interest then it’s time really to advise him of the plan to replace him.“

Another basketball great Atoy Co, for his part, said, “as a coach I would do what coach Yeng did. However, si Blatche nandyan na. Naturalized na. May nagagawa si Andray na hindi nagagawa nina JM, Slaughter at Japeth kung nasa tip-top shape si Andray, sa tingin ko makakatulong naman.”

Former Philippine Sports Commission chair Eric Buhain agreed. “I trust coach Yeng Guiao naman to do what’s best for team Philippines. I think he has reasons. Baka he put more weight on team cohesiveness. Plus alam mo naman, personally pro-Pinoy talaga ako.”

And so did former many-time national players Jimmy Mariano, Felix Flores, and coaches Alex Compton, Boyet Fernandez, Adonis Tierra and Arnel Vanguardia.


Click here to view a list of other articles written by Eddie Alinea.


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