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Hunt for next Gilas coach on as SEA Games nears

With the resignation of Yeng Guiao as coach of the Gilas Pilipinas men’s team, the Samahang Baketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) will now have to look for his replacement as the national team prepares for the Southeast Asian Games which the country will be hosting starting Nov. 30 this year.

Ateneo head coach Tab Baldwin (MB photo | Rio Leonelle Deluvio)

Ateneo head coach Tab Baldwin (MB photo | Rio Leonelle Deluvio)

The search, however, may take a while since the basketball federation isn’t expecting Guiao to step down even after the country’s painful campaign in the FIBA World Cup in China.

SBP president Al Panlilio said in a statement that while he respects the decision of Guiao, it was a tough one considering the journey the national team had under the veteran mentor.

“It is with a heavy heart that we accept coach Yeng’s resignation,” said Panlilio Wednesday.

“Coach Yeng Guiao had the unenviable task of picking up the pieces for Gilas Pilipinas Men. Even if the odds were stacked against him from the start, he took on the challenge head on and gave it his best shot,” added Panlilio.

Panlilio commended Guiao for his efforts, saying: “His selection to take over was unanimous and it spoke volumes about the respect that he has gained throughout his career from all members of the Philippine basketball community.”

SBP special assistant to the President (SAP) Ryan Gregorio said it is still too early to talk about Guiao’s possible replacement.

“It’s too early to talk about list or short list,” said Gregorio.

Former national team mentors Tab Baldwin and Jong Uichico are some of the possible replacement of Guiao due to their experience coaching in international tournaments.

Jong Uichico

Jong Uichico

Aside from calling the shots for the Philippines, Baldwin’s resume include a coaching stint with New Zealand, a team he helped claim a spot in the 2002 FIBA World Cup in Indianapolis.

He is currently the coach of defending UAAP champion Ateneo.

For Uichico, he once called the shots for the national team in the Asian Games, and served as an assistant coach of Reyes with Gilas Pilipinas. He is currently the coach of Bataan in the MPBL.

The two are also former coaches of the national team in the SEA Games that won gold medals. (Waylon Galvez)