By Jonas Terrado
Gilas Pilipinas coach Yeng Guiao is mulling the likelihood of fielding a smaller pool of players after chemistry issues hounded the team in its dismal showing in the fifth window of the FIBA World Cup Qualifiers.
Guiao had difficulty finding the right mix in the recent window that saw Gilas losing to Kazakhstan and Iran at the Mall of Asia Arena in both games that were decided in the final minute.
Being dubbed as one of the best pools ever formed certainly became a curse for this latest batch of Gilas players, prompting Guiao to ponder on who are the players suitable for his style of play for the decisive sixth window of the qualifiers.
The Philippines, which dropped to fourth place at 5-5 in Group F, need to beat Qatar and Kazakhstan on the road and hope for favorable results of the other games in its own bracket and in Group E to secure qualification to the World Cup in China.
The top three teams in each group and best fourth place squad will join China as Asia’s representatives in the World Cup.
“I guess one thing we should take a look at is keeping the team together longer for international competition,” Guiao said after Monday’s 78-70 defeat to Iran. “I was actually suggesting that let’s decide once and for all who the national team players are and not keep naming a pool.
“We always have a pool every time there’s a window. Coming into this one, we had 20. So now, I had suggested to let’s keep the number to 15 and let’s support those 15 with time together, with international experience and competition.
“The problem with this is that a lot of players have been successful in different systems, so it’s really very to unlearn those systems for a few weeks and then go back to the system again and then unlearn them again when you’re with the national team. So I think that’s the problem that we have to solve,” added Guiao.
Chemistry wasn’t an issue for Guiao during the Asian Games and the fourth window of the qualifiers, with majority of the players in both tournaments already familiarized with his play.