by Ernest HernandezThe 20-man pool of Gilas Pilipinas for the fifth window of the FIBA World Qualifiers was finally revealed by head coach Yeng Guiao. However, most noticed the exclusion of Andray Blatche and TnT KaTropa guard Terrence Romeo.
Along with the players who served a three-game suspension during the brawl against Australia, only Jayson Castro and Troy Rosario were included in the pool.
For Guiao, it was a difficult decision to exclude both Blatche and Romeo in the pool. However, he is confident that the void can be filled up.
The choice for the naturalized player will be tossed up once again by SMB’s Christian Standhardinger and NorthPort’s Stanley Pringle. Their current chemistry with the team is a key factor for Guiao to make that decision.
“It was really a hard decision on our part but we took into considerations the chemistry that has been built up from the Asian Games to the fourth window with Christian and Stanley,” said Guiao.
“Second, since Andray is going to be available only at the Iran game, that is some limitation to how we can utilize him,” he adds.
“Thirdly, Christian Standhardinger has produced numbers that can’t be argued against. Yung mga numbers ni Christian from the Asian Games up to the fourth window. We felt that he deserves a strong consideration to the lineup.”
Standhardinger was the lone bright spot during the loss of the national team against Iran. It was his best performance for Gilas scoring 30 points and grabbing 12 rebounds.
However, Guiao never ruled out the possibility of having Blatche again in the future.
“He will still be considered. Lalo na sa fifth window, wala na siyang suspension,” he said.
The national team who will also miss Terrence Romeo, a decision made by the current coaching staff. For a team that is already loaded with guards, Guiao will still give him consideration as the case of Blatche.
“Consensus din from the coaching staff. We also sought the approval of the SBP and the PBA, they supported the decision,” he said. “There is just too much talent in this team. Especially in the guard position.”
“We felt that Terrence will be considered just like Blatche in the next window but we would like to be able to, again, reward the guys who already played in the fourth window and also the guys who played in the Asian games.”
Gilas Pilipinas resumes practice on November 12 at the Meralco Gym. They will also face Jordan and Lebanon in a couple of tune-up games before the FIBA World Qualifiers on November 30.