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Guiao’s Team Pilipinas faces acid test vs Jordan, Lebanon


PhilBoxing.com





A four-game tuneup stint against the Jordan and Lebanon national basketball squads starting Monday will determine the composition of the 12-man Team Pilipinas for the fifth window of the 2019 Fiba World Cup Asian qualifiers.


The 20-man national pool plays the Jordanians Monday in actually its first outing since named by national head coach Yeng Guiao tree weeks ago.

Game time is 8 p.m. at the Meralco Gym in Pasig City, where the pool has been working out since it started its build up program.

Of the 20-player pool, only 13 have actually been regularly attending practices held Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays that may lead Guiao to prioritize on them at least in the matchup against Jordan, which his boys will again play on Wednesday.

This was because when preparation began the semifinal round of the on-going PBA Governors’ Cup was still on the way.

Those regularly participating in practices are June Mar Fajardo, Christian Standhardinger, Arwind Santos, Alex Cabagnot, Marcio Lassiter, Jayson Castro, Gabe Norwood, Troy Rosario, Beau Belga, JP Erram and Matthew Wright and cadets Kai Sotto and Ricci Rivero.

After Barangay Ginebra’s dethronement by sister team Magnolia Hotshots in the semis, Guiao said he expect Gin Kings Greg Slaughter, Scottie Thompson, Japeth Aguilar, and LA Tenorio to join the pool’s training on Sunday as well as on match versus Jordan.

Stanley Pringle, who arrived from United States on Friday, is also expected to come on Sunday, while Finals-bound Paul Lee and Ian Sangalang of Magnolia are still uncertain if they will show up on Sunday’s practice.

“I think coach Yeng would concentrate on the 13 players that has been practicing since the start but since natalo yung Ginebra we expect them to show up on Sunday’s practice,” assistant coach Caloy Garcia said. “I’m not sure though kung gagamitin ni coach Yeng for Monday’s game."

After the two tune-up matches against Jordan, the pool is also scheduled to battle Lebanon on November 23 and 25.

Team Pilipinas will be opposing Kazakhstan on November 30 and Iran on December 3 in the fifth window of the qualifiers.

Asked what the country’s chances to make it to the FIBA World Cup proper, Guiao, who is trying to recapture his congressional seat representing Pampanga in next year’s elections, said: “If we hurdle the Kazakhs and the Iranians, which hope we can, malaki ang pagasa. Japan nalang kasi ang po-problemahin natin kung mangyayari yun.”

“Japan I heard has also a tough group which includes, I understand, Australia,” he said. “Although malakas din ang Japanese kaya lang hindi kasing lakas kasing taas ng Iranians.”


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


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