Yeng Guiao excited to coach ‘tall’ Gilas team for FIBA window
The national coach is looking forward to teaming up June Mar Fajardo and Greg Slaughter with the returning Andray Blatche at the low block as the nationals host Kazakhstan and Iran one after the other at the Mall of Asia Arena.PBA Images
MANILA, Philippines — Yeng Guiao welcomed the scenario of having a huge frontcourt at his disposal when Team Pilipinas resumes its campaign in the next window of the FIBA World Cup qualifiers.
The national coach is looking forward to teaming up June Mar Fajardo and Greg Slaughter with the returning Andray Blatche at the low block as the nationals host Kazakhstan and Iran one after the other at the Mall of Asia Arena.
Team Pilipinas battles Kazakhstan on Nov. 30 before facing tormentor Iran on Dec. 3.
The 6-foot-11 Blatche, however, will only be eligible to play against Iran, by which time the three-game suspension meted on him by FIBA along with Jayson Castro, Terrence Romeo, and Troy Rosario would be over.
Still, Guiao is thrilled at the prospect of handling perhaps the tallest national team frontcourt ever in history.
“For the first time in a long while, you will have June Mar, Greg, and Japeth (Aguilar) playing together in a team with (Andray) Blatche,” said Guiao.
“Definitely, lalaki talaga yung lineup natin.”
Injuries prevented both Fajardo and Slaughter from joining Team Pilipinas under Guiao the last time, when it lost to Iran at Tehran, 81-73, last Sept. 13, but beat Kazakhstan 92-81, in a closed-door match at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Guiao allayed fears that Team Pilipinas might have to sacrifice speed for height with the presence of Fajardo and Slaughter.
“Hindi naman tayo babagal. Nakakatakbo rin naman sila June Mar,” he said.
Christian Standhardinger and Stanley Pringle, who served as Team Pilipinas’ naturalized player in Blatche’s absence during the last window against Iran and Kazakhstan, are again being considered in the Nov.30 clash with the Kazakhs.