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Early showdown with China looms for PH 5

By JONAS TERRADO

Christian Standhardinger is still a cinch to make it to the Rain or Shine-led Philippine team to the Indonesia Asian Games despite his absence in the team’s first practice Monday night.

Standhardinger understandably had to skip the two-hour session at the Meralco gym due to the ongoing PBA Commissioner’s Cup Finals, but Guiao would like to see the 6-foot-8 Fil-German at least show up and observe.

“It looks like he’s still focused on the finals, but we will request San Miguel if he could come just to watch,” Guiao said. “Physically we will not demand anything from him until the Finals is over. We just have to wait but he needs to see how we ran things.”

Guiao also labeled the six Rain or Shine players – Gabe Norwood. Raymond Almazan, Chris Tiu, James Yap, Beau Belga and Maverick Ahanmisi – along with Stanley Pringle and Poy Erram as other shoo-ins for the team formed at the last minute after the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas reversed its earlier decision to withdraw from the Asiad.

“We’re really just deciding on three or four guys,” said the NLEX mentor.

The national cagers could leave as early as Aug. 12 after apparent changes were made in groupings. Pending an official word from the local organizing committee, the Philippines will be placed alongside China and Kazakhstan in Group B, the top two teams advancing to the quarterfinals.

The country was initially bracketed with Iran, Syria and the United Arab Emirates, a relatively easier bracket compared to the new version which pits Guiao and company in a predicament of having to hurdle one of Asia’s top teams and a former Soviet territory that is no pushover.

The first practice also served as a reunion of Guiao’s former players at Rain or Shine, which also includes current Magnolia star Paul Lee and TNT KaTropa wingman Don Trollano.

“I miss them, actually. But you know you have to get over that kasi wala ka na, But every once in a while, it’s okay to be in a situation like this where you recall, you reminisce and you enjoy the good old days,” Guiao said.

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