The Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas’ (SBP) pullout from the Asian Games came as a surprise to fans and pundits looking at a prospectively competitive lineup to be fielded for the men’s basketball tournament.
Citing preparations for future tournaments and a possible appeal regarding FIBA’s decision to suspend 10 Gilas Pilipinas players, the country’s basketball body decided to withdraw the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters core, which was to be bolstered by players from other PBA teams and to be led by former coach and NLEX lead strategist Yeng Guiao.
Here’s a quick run at the swift turn of events leading up to last night’s decision.
JUNE 18 – Eight TNT players, four cadets, Blatche tapped for Asian Games
Head coach Chot Reyes bared last June that TNT’s core will be sent to Indonesia for the tournament.
Terrence Romeo and Jayson Castro were supposed to lead an eight-man KaTropa lineup made up of Troy Rosario, Kelly Williams, Roger Pogoy, Jericho Cruz, Anthony Semerad and Don Trollano.
Naturalized big man Andray Blatche and Gilas cadets Kobe Paras, Ricci Rivero and Abu Tratter were also set to reinforce the lineup.
But due to the suspension of Romeo, Castro, Pogoy, Rosario and Blatche due to the Philippines-Australia brawl, the PBA opted to extend the offer to the Elasto Painters instead.
JULY 20 – Rain or Shine owner confirms PBA’s offer to send team to Indonesia
With a little less than a month before the tiff, Rain or Shine owner Raymond Yu confirmed developments that commissioner Willie Marcial asked them to field a team to the Asian Games.
They expressed interest, but Yu said that they’ll tap a coach who’s had experience in international tournaments. He eyed former Elasto Painters coach Yeng Guiao.
JULY 26 – Guiao picked as ROS coach for Asian Games, eyed pointers from Chot Reyes
It didn’t take long for Yeng Guiao and his former team to come to terms about the possibility of steering his old squad to victory.
He even mentioned the possibility of asking for tips from current Gilas Pilipinas head coach Chot Reyes, whom Guiao called “the right guy to handle the national team.”
“It wouldn’t do harm if I pick something from him, especially now at these challenging times where we’re pressed for time and still searching for some players,” the NLEX Road Warriors head coach told FOX Sports PH at the time.
JULY 26 – GlobalPort agrees to lend Stanley Pringle
Coach Yeng Guiao was ecstatic when he learned about GlobalPort’s initiative to have Stanley Pringle suit up for the Rain or Shine-backed squad in the Asian Games.
It seems that the admiration goes both ways: Batang Pier owner Mikee Romero called Guiao a great coach, while Guiao described Pringle as a “matinding point guard”.
JULY 27, afternoon – Ginebra, SMC players might not join due to PBA Finals, says Guiao
Getting June Mar Fajardo and other standouts from SMC teams are a no-brainer, but coach Yeng was realistic when asked about the possibility of seeing them suit up for the team in the Asian Games.
“Mukhang malabo silang makakasali if ever ilagay namin anyone of them sa line up for the Asian Games,” he said.
He still had his wish list, though. Earlier after confirming that Pringle will join the team, Guiao said that he wanted to tap Blackwater’s JP Erram. He also told FOX PH that he wanted Paul Lee and Jeff Chan – two of his former wards – to bolster the lineup.
JULY 27, evening – The pull out
SBP made the pullout official after releasing a statement on social media, but Rain or Shine owner Ronald Yu told FOX PH that they’re still open and ready in case the basketball body changes its mind.