By REYNALD MAGALLON
TAIPEI, Taiwan – Rain or Shine head coach Yeng Guiao was impressed at the improvements of the national teams of Chinese Taipei and it was evident in their first two games in the 42nd William Jones Cup.
The Elasto Painters were swept by the host nation, losing to Chinese Taipei A, 98-79, fin their opening game before absorbing an 89-79 defeat to the hosts’ second team.
Rain or Shine visibly struggled containing the hosts with Chinese Taipei also now utilizing Taiwanese heritage players and naturalized players – a sign that the country is beefing up its national team and slowly catching up with the Philippines, according to Guiao.
“Maiintindihan mo rin ‘yung development ng mga neighbors natin na kailangan na nating sabayan kasi kita mo ito dalawang team nila mga bata, malalaki,” Guiao pointed out.
“Meron silang mga half-breeds actually parang nalampasan pa tayo dun sa ginawa natin,” he added.
Chinese Taipei team A flaunted its 6-foot-11 naturalized player in Will Artino and Taiwanese-Senegalese guards Mohammad Al Bachir Gadiaga who both led the offensive assault against Rain or Shine.
Team B, on the other hand, had the young Taiwanese-American brothers Adam and Robert Hilton to join former Chinese Taipei youth team member Lin Sin Kuan and naturalization prospect and Senegalese Sarr Cheikh Ahmadou Bamba Mbacke.
Both teams remain unscathed with 2-0 records heading into the third day of competitions.
“Tayo nauna sa mga ganun tapos ngayon inaadapt na rin tapos ngayon meron na rin silang mga naturalized na rin,” said Guiao, who also pointed out that the Gilas Pilipinas must keep up with the improvements of its neighboring countries.
“I think it’s also a lesson na we can bring back na eto na ginagawa na ng mga neighbors natin na kailangan na din iimprove yung ginagawa sa Gilas program natin,” he added.
Chinese Taipei is using the Jones Cup as preparation for the Asian Games in Hangzhou, China in September where it could possibly face Gilas Pilipinas which by then will be fresh off a World Cup stint.
“We just have to keep improving our own development and program pagdating sa national team,” he added.