Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) Commissioner Willie Marcial yesterday assured the league’s support to coach Yeng Guiao and Team Pilipinas.
Guiao made the pledge way ahead of the PBA Board of Governors’ meeting on 6 November.
For Marcial, the Board is likely to validate Guiao with the same support he enjoyed during the past window of the 2019 FIBA World Cup Asian Qualifiers last September.
“The PBA will be giving all out support to coach Yeng even if the special meeting is yet to begin. We will remain behind him, especially on players he wants available for his national team training pool,” Marcial said.
Guiao recently told Daily Tribune he was likely to ask for his original 16-man pool which represented the country in the fourth window. But he will also ask for additional players, mainly those set to come out of their FIBA suspensions.
Retaining his pool, Guiao is expected to add Jayson Castro, Terrence Romeo, Troy Rosario and naturalized import Andray Blatche when they end their three-game suspensions due to their roles in the skirmish with Australia last July.
In line for Team Pilipinas are June Mar Fajardo (shin) and Greg Slaughter (ankle) who have finally recovered from their respective injuries, with Kai Sotto who will be included in the pool by Guiao for his training and development.
“Coach Yeng will discuss the players he wants to be made available along with his training program for the PBA board to help in terms of preparation, especially with the Governors’ Cup entering the playoffs,” Marcial added.
Marcial scheduled a tentative PBA break from 18 November to 4 December depending on the duration of quarterfinals and semi-finals to give Guiao ample time to assemble and train his large training pool of 20-plus players.
The season-ending conference will be entering the Finals by then, giving Guiao most of the players before Team Pilipinas hosts Kazakhtan on 30 November and Iran on 3 December at the Mall of Asia Arena.
“We’ll have a break entering the Finals to give the national team enough time to prepare,” Marcial assured.