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Guiao to take over Gilas program

yeng guiao

by Waylon Galvez

Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) chairman emeritus Manny V. Pangilinan revealed Sunday that Yeng Guiao will take over the program of the national team as he is set to replace Chot Reyes.

Guiao was initially appointed by SBP president Al Panlilio as the coach for two games during the two FIBA World Cup qualifying games this month, versus Iran in Tehran and opposite Qatar in a closed-door match here in Manila.

However, the former SBP chief Pangilinan said that Guiao has done a magnificent job as coach of the national team that finished fifth overall despite tremendous odds in the Jakarta-Palembang Asian Games in Indonesia.

The clincher, though, was the PBA’s willingness to offer all possible players Guiao needs for the qualifiers.

“Binuksan na ang pinto ng PBA kay Yeng e, then pumasok ka na,” said Pangilinan. “Hindi nsman manhid si Chot. Kinausap na nya ako… for the country Nag-usap na kami.”

It appears that Guiao has yet to be informed, as Pangilinan mentioned that it’s going to be a “trick in convincing” the current NLEX mentor since it also has his own plans in the field of politics.

“Tatakbo yan for congress e,” said Pangilinan.

Reyes has been with the SBP national team program with original Smart Gilas Pilipinas as a member of the staff of Serbian coach Rajko Toroman during the 2011 FIBA-Asia Championship in Wuhan, China.

Reyes took over from Toroman in 2012 and steered the national team to a silver medal finish behind eventual Asian champion Iran in 2013 here in Manila, which earned the country a spot in the 2014 FIBA World Cup in Spain.

Reyes, however, stepped down as mentor following the national team’s dismal performance in Inchon Asian Games in South Korea that same year, but returned as head coach in late 2016, or right after the FIBA Olympic Qualifier Tournament (OQT) here.

As for Guiao, his first stint as coach of the national team was in 2009 Asian Championship in Tianjin, China. He was appointed as coach in this year’s Asiad after the SBP opted to give in to the clamor in sending a team in Indonesia after initially withdrawing from the tournament.

Now that Reyes is out of the national team program, there is speculation that he might be considered for the TNT Katropa coaching position since current mentor Nash Racela is on-leave.

Reyes coached TNT for five years, helping the franchise win four titles.

As for NLEX, Guiao’s assistant Jojo Lastimosa is doing a good job so far with the Road Warriors as the franchise sports a 3-2 record. Both TNT and NLEX, together with Meralco is owned by Pangilinan.

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