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PBA Board okays Yeng’s wish list


By Waylon Galvez


His wish now granted by the PBA, Philippine team coach Yeng Guiao said the pressure to deliver big wins in the two FIBA World Cup qualifying games has increased tremendously.

Knowing the PH pool need new faces so it can compete against Middle East top guns, the PBA allowed Guiao to get eight additional players to beef up the national team in time for its crucial games against Iran and Qatar.

Along with eight holdovers from the just concluded 2018 Jakarta-Palembang Asian Games, Guiao now has 16 talented players in the pool.

“We are awed and we are delighted having the most talented players in the PBA,” Guiao said.

“It’s been a while since we were to bring together this kind of talent. You can see that there is a difference in just knowing that these guys are the most talented, best players in the PBA and they’re willing to make that sacrifice to represent us,” added Guiao.

The national team of Guiao had its first practice session Monday evening at the Meralco Gym.

Prior to that, the 16 players and the coaching staff had a brief meeting with Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) Chairman Emeritus Manny V. Pangilinan, who was accompanied by Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) chief Ricky Vargas and PBA Commissioner Willie Marcial.

The eight holdovers from Guiao’s Asian Games team, which finished fifth overall, include Gabe Norwood, Raymond Almazan and Beau Belga of Rain or Shine, NLEX’s Asi Taulava, San Miguel Beer’s Christian Standhardinger, JP Erram of Blackwater, Stanley Pringle of North Port and Paul Lee of Magnolia.

Added to the training pool from where Guiao will select his final 12 for the two games are Ginebra’s Greg Slaughter, Japeth Aguilar and Scottie Thompson, SMB’s Marcio Lassiter and Alex Cabagnot, Ian Sangalang of Magnolia, Allein Maliksi of Blackwater and Phoenix Fuel’s Matthew Wright.

“As I’ve said now that talent is here, the next question is how am I as a coach going to be able to orchestrate this talent and make them play good basketball together as a team,” said Guiao.