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Guiao hoping that Greg will recover




Team Pilipinas head coach Yeng Guiao is still hoping that Greg Slaughter will recover from a left sprained ankle injury until Tuesday to join the practice session in Tehran, Iran.

The status of Slaughter will determine the final 12-man roster of Guiao against the Hamed Haddadi-led Iran in the fourth window of the FIBA World Cup qualifiers on Thursday.

“We’re waiting for him to practice, and we can’t make a decision,” said Guiao following a two-hour practice of the national team Monday at the Meralco gym in Quezon City.

“Once we see his condition in his first practice, then we can decide if we can play Slaughter or not. That’s the time we’ll make the lineup. If he cannot make practice Tuesday, he’ll not play.”

“We can’t put Greg in the lineup on just a one-day practice, one day (Wednesday) then he’ll play the next day. I think that’s the time we can make the final list or the final 12,” added Guiao in Filipino.

Slaughter hurt his left ankle in a PBA Governors’ Cup match last Wednesday between his team Barangay Ginebra San Miguel and North Port.

He has since missed practice of the national team since Thursday.

The presence of Slaughter in the final roster would provide Guiao a primary defender against Haddadi with backing from a frontline rotation of Asi Taulava, Beau Belga and Christian Standhardinger.

The national team is set to fly from Manila to Dubai at 11 p.m. Monday. After a 9-hour trip, the squad of Guiao will have a three-hour layoff before they travel again to Tehran for two more hours.

The national team is expected to arrive in Tehran in the afternoon, and Guiao mentioned they will just take a couple of hours rest before plunging into practice in the evening.

That is when he and the rest of the coaching staff will know if Slaughter is good to go. The following day – Wednesday – the team is scheduled for another practice for its final preparation against Iran.

Despite the absence of Slaughter, Guiao feels that the entire team is at 85 percent ready for the match with Haddadi’s team. Prior to practice yesterday, the team already reviewed Iran’s championship game against eventual champion China in the last Jakarta-Palembang Asian Games in Indonesia.

Guiao said the remaining practice sessions of the team would be on defense, particularly on defending Haddadi, formerly of the Memphis Grizzlies who is the primary offensive weapon of Iran.

“The next two days we are putting in place our defensive schemes. We did that a little bit today, then we’ll do it again tomorrow and on Wednesday. They will play Iran on Thursday,” said Guiao.

Ginebra's Greg Slaughter drives against Phoenix players during the PBA Governors' Cup at MOA Arena, August 30, 2017 (Rio Leonelle Deluvio)

Ginebra’s Greg Slaughter drives against Phoenix players during the PBA Governors’ Cup at MOA Arena, August 30, 2017 (Rio Leonelle Deluvio)

This is the second international tournament for Guiao as national team mentor – first since he helped the national team to a fifth place finish in the Asian Games.