By Joel Orellana
Gilas Pilipinas head coach Yeng Guiao welcomed Phoenix Pulse shooter Matthew Wright to his training pool and promised to announce his 15-man roster for the FIBA Basketball World Cup next week.
The Filipino-Canadian was the latest addition to the pool that is expected to be trimmed down just in time when naturalized player Andray Blatche joins the squad either 12 or 13 July.
“Matthew is part of the pool along with CJ (Perez) and Robert Bolick. By next week, we’ll probably name 13 to 14 guys and that will be the final list. We have to make the cut off and after that we won’t anymore,” said Guiao after the team’s training Thursday night at the Meralco gym.
Blatche was supposed to arrive this week but a court hearing on his child’s custody case delayed his return to the country.
But the good news was Gilas Pilipinas got the player it needed in Wright, a streak shooter and a dependable scorer.
“He was part of the discussion before. And his game speaks for himself as he shoots well. And I understand we need to have as many as good shooters in the team. He’s been with the team before. Adjusting to the team won’t be a problem,” said Guiao.
The NLEX mentor admitted the current set up is not ideal as the team is training twice a week and the players have to memorize two systems -– his system and the system of his mother team in the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA).
But Guiao is not complaining and said they’ll go full blast once the 15-man roster for China joust is announced.
“By the time the team practices everyday and we get them out of their teams, it will be easier for them to absorb. But as of now, there’s still confusion,” said Guiao. “But gradually, they are getting the feel already.”
Gilas Pilipinas has a scheduled a tune-up game against Mighty Sports on Monday and though the scrimmage won’t gauge how far the team is right now, it will still help the team any other aspects.
“The tune-up will help us in way for us to evaluate team as of now. I’m not expecting too much but I just want to see the effort. Plus, they have five imports and it’s a good simulation in China,” he said.
The Philippines is bracketed with Serbia, Italy and Angola in the World Cup, slated 30 August to 15 September.
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