FINALLY | Rain or Shine to carry the Philippine colors in Asian Games

GET ready, Indonesia. The hoops capital of the world is about to fly in their rightful and willing representatives to the 18th Asian Games.

Yeng Guiao and the Rain or Shine Elastopainters are set to invade the Asian Games’ basketball competition, scheduled from August 14 to September 1 in Jakarta. Nearly without a representative in the Asian showpiece, the Philippines will finally be bringing in a national team for the men’s basketball tournament of the 2018 Jakarta-Palembang Asian Games.

Citing various reasons following the FIBA suspension that emanated from the Philippines-Australia “basketbrawl”, the Samahang Basketbol Pilipinas (SBP) announced last July 26 the country’s withdrawal from the quadrennial meet. For two weeks, the SBP was bombarded by criticisms from media, former PBA players and the rest of the basketball community over their unpopular decision of skipping the Asian Games basketball tournament.

But in a sudden change of heart, it looks like the Philippines would be participating, after all, in the 14-nation joust for Asian Games gold.

No less than Rain or Shine team owner Raymond Yu confirmed the development to FOX Sports Philippines in a phone interview.

“Tuloy, kanina lang naayos,” said Yu. “But I was told as early as few days ago that there’s a big chance it will push thru. Now, it’s happening. We’re representing the country in the Asian Games.”

Set to handle the ROS-backed national team is NLEX Road Warriors head coach Yeng Guiao, who was at the helm for the Elastopainters from 2011 to 2016. During his five-year stint with Rain or Shine, Guiao reeled in two championships and the squad co-owned by Raymond Yu and Terry Que became the most consistent squad in terms of consecutive playoff appearances.

Guiao, according to Yu, will be the ones in charge of forming the squad and the fiery mentor had already made a request to the PBA and their respective ball clubs.

A press conference to be attended by representatives from the SBP and the PBA, will be held prior to the start of Game 5.

Through the years, Rain or  Shine has been a staunch supporter of the Gilas Pilipinas basketball program since the PBA-backed program took over in 2012.

In its various iterations, Gilas Pilipinas has called up the likes of Gabe Norwood, Jeff Chan and Beau Belga, who were loaned unconditionally by the Elasto Painters despite the “one player policy” implemented by the PBA Board.

Past and present players of Rain or Shine who also saw action and represented Gilas Pilipinas one time or another include Paul Lee, now playing for the Magniolia Hotshots, and Raymond Almazan.

Two present members of the Elasto Painters squad also had experiences playing in major international tournaments — James Yap (2009 FIBA Asia Championship coached by Guiao) and Chris Tiu (2011 FIBA Asia Championship under Rajko Toroman).

Watch all three FOX Sports channels live on the FOX+ app. For more info on FOX+, click here or to start your free 30 day trial, download the FOX+ app.