Yeng Guiao still undecided on Andray Blatche's Gilas status
MANILA, Philippines – The clamor to bring back Andray Blatche to Gilas Pilipinas has intensified after back-to-back home losses in the World Cup qualifiers, but Yeng Guiao and his staff are still undecided about the matter.
One thing's for sure, though.
The former NBA player will be considered in the 6th and final window of the qualifiers after being left out of the 20-man pool for the 5th window, which saw the Philippines fall to Kazakhstan and Iran.
"Hindi pa namin napag-uusapan," Guiao told reporters. "Ever since naman, sinabi naman namin na he (Blatche) can always be considered. We have not gone that far as to make a decision doon sa situwasyon."
(We haven't talked about his status. Ever since, we always said that he'll always be considered. We have not gone that far as to make a decision regarding his situation.)
Blatche, who has served as the country's naturalized player since 2014, was omitted from Guiao's pool of players for the 5th window even if he was set to complete his 3-game suspension from FIBA.
He could have made his national team return against Iran but the firebrand mentor instead decided to alternate Stanley Pringle and Christian Standhardinger as naturalized players.
Still, Guiao stands by his choice. (READ: Andray Blatche not completely out of Gilas program)
"No regrets kami. Once you make that decision, you should take all the responsibility. Wala namang balikan at sisihan diyan," he added. (READ: Blatche 'hurt' by Gilas non-inclusion, but says he's always available)
(We have no regrets. Once you make that decision, you should take all the responsibility. There's no turning back and there will be no blaming that will happen.)
Guiao has more than two months to ponder on who he will tap to be Gilas' naturalized player for the final window in February.
And that could spell all the difference for the Filipinos, who must sweep their final games against Kazakhstan and Qatar to remain in the hunt for a World Cup berth.
The Philippines currently sits at 4th place in Group F behind a 5-5 record. Only the top 3 teams are assured spots in the World Cup in August 2019. – Rappler.com