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Long wait over, Guiao set to name RP team's 'Dirty Dozen'

May 16, 2009 5:44pm

Tags: Yeng Guiao
MANILA, Philippines – Who gets to suit up for the Powerade-Team Pilipinas when it sees action in the South East Asian Basketball Association (SEABA) men’s championship three weeks from now?

Coach Yeng Guiao is set to provide the answer next week when he officially announces the 12 players who will comprise the national squad for the June 6 meet in Medan, Indonesia.

An ailing Kelly Williams made the task for Guiao a lot easier as he now has to sit just one of the 14 players in his roster to complete the lineup.

Williams became ill after the PBA All-Star break last month, forcing him to miss Sta. Lucia Realty’s succeeding games in the Motolite-PBA Fiesta Cup and the SEABA tournament.

“At least isa na lang ang ibababa," said the national coach. “But it will still be tough."

With Williams recuperating, now vying for spots in the official line up include skipper Asi Taulava, James Yap, Kerby Raymundo, JayJay Helterbrand, Jared Dillinger, Ryan Reyes, Gabe Norwood, Mick Pennisi, Cyrus Baguio, Sonny Thoss, Willie Miller, Ranidel de Ocampo and Arwind Santos.

The SEABA is the qualifying tournament for the RP team’s actual target – the 25th FIBA-Asia Men’s Championship set August 6 to 16 in Tianjin, China, which in turn will decide the region’s three representatives to the 16th World Championship in Istanbul next year.

Six-foot-10 Japeth Aguilar, son of former Northern Consolidated center Peter Aguilar, was to arrive next week from Chicago to join the RP team for the SEABA.

But Guiao gave the young Aguilar a free pass on learning that he has been invited by the NBA to join its development league in the second week of June.

“So that he wouldn’t have to go back and forth, we had an arrangement with Japeth for him to attend the NBA camp and then come here right after," Guiao said. “That would give him enough time to join the team in preparation for the Jones Cup (July 18-26)."

Guiao said he appreciates Aguilar’s “sincerity" in wanting to fulfill a commitment with the RP team.

“But for everyone’s convenience, we felt it would be better this way," he said. “Isa pa, we know naman that we have enough material to play in the SEABA so tamang-tama lang yon."

The Jones Cup in Taipei, held in honor of R. William Jones, the founding secretary-general of the International Basketball Federation or FIBA, allows participating countries to field up to 15 players.

“That’s why we’re looking forward to it." Guiao said. “We’ll have Japeth there, tapos walang limit sa tao. Doon mage-gauge kung ano talaga ang lakas ng team. That’s the only time frame we have where we can see the future. It’s not a long term thing but a week-by-week scenario that we’ll be looking at." – GMANews.TV
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Tags: Yeng Guiao