THE Rain or Shine-backed Philippine men’s basketball team left Sunday for Jakarta with everyone having high hopes on the squad’s chances for the games despite facing tremendous odds.
Head coach Yeng Guiao, who trained the team for about a week, remains upbeat even though the squad lacked the time to prepare.
“Everybody is working hard and totally committed,” wrote Guiao in a text message hours before departing for Jakarta. “I can’t name any particular individual who is standing out. But I have a good feeling about this team in general.”
Eleven players are so far cleared to play for the Philippine cage squad, six of them coming from the Elasto Painters, who agreed to bankroll and put up a team at the last minute just to represent the country in the Asian Games.
Leading the team are two-time MVP James Yap, veteran international campaigner Gabe Norwood, Chris Tiu, Raymond Almazan, Maverick Ahanmisi, and Beau Belga.
Plucked from different teams were Asi Taulava of NLEX, the oldest player in the squad at 45, Paul Lee of Magnolia, Stanley Pringle of GlobalPort, Christian Standhardinger of San Miguel Beer, and Poy Erram of Blackwater.
Don Trollano, who is tasked to replace NBA player Jordan Clarkson, could become the 12th member of the squad.
The Philippine team starts its campaign on Thursday, August 16, facing Kazakhstan at 10 a.m. The Filipinos will return on Tuesday, August 21, in a much-awaited encounter with the mighty Chinese squad at 4 p.m.