Coach Yeng Guiao will start mapping out his plans tonight when the national team holds its first practice session for the fifth window of the FIBA World Cup Qualifiers.
Almost all of the 20 players named to pool are expected to show up for the 8 p.m. session at the Meralco gym, almost three weeks before the Philippines resume its World Cup bid with home matches against Kazakhstan and Iran at the Mall of Asia Arena.
Greg Slaughter, LA Tenorio, Japeth Aguilar, Scottie Thompson, Paul Lee and Ian Sangalang will be excused for obvious reasons, with the PBA Governors’ Cup semifinal series between Barangay Ginebra San Miguel and Magnolia to be played at the same time at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Expected to be in attendance are June Mar Fajardo, Alex Cabagnot, Marcio Lassiter, Christian Standhardinger, Matthew Wright, Poy Erram, Jayson Castro, Troy Rosario, Gabe Norwood, Beau Belga, Stanley Pringle and Arwind Santos, who like Tenorio was a surprise addition to Guiao’s pool.
Also invited are amateur standouts Ricci Rivero and Kai Sotto, who Guiao looks to develop alongside some of the PBA’s best.
Though a bit of a long shot, Guiao has not ruled out including the Ateneo high school star from the 12-man roster for either the match with Kazakhstan on Nov. 3 or Iran on Dec. 3.
Guiao has also lined four scrimmage games against Jordan on Nov. 19 and 21 and Lebanon on Nov. 23 and 25, also at the Meralco gym. (Jonas Terrado)
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