MANILA, Philippines – National team head coach Yeng Guiao said Tuesday that he may invite a few more players to the Gilas Pilipinas pool, after Ginebra guard Scottie Thompson begged off from the 2019 FIBA Basketball World Cup.
Guiao confirmed that Thompson informed him over the weekend that he does not intend to play for the Philippines in the upcoming tournament, as he feels he is not quite ready yet as a player.
The famously fiery coach was appreciative of Thompson's candor.
"He's being honest," said Guiao of the Ginebra guard, who played in five qualifiers for the Philippines and averaged 2.8 points, 3.8 rebounds, and 1.8 assists.
"He's also humble about his own abilities. That means alam niya kung ano 'yung kulang niya. Alam niya kung saan pa siya kailangan mag-improve," he added.
"That's usually the perspective of a player who's kumbaga realistic and he keeps himself grounded. So to me that’s a good sign of his character, not only of his playing ability, but also his character as a person."
The Ginebra guard has not shown up at the Meralco Gym since Guiao recalled Gilas to practice a week ago.
Thompson is the third player to beg off national team duties ahead of the World Cup, after TNT veteran Jayson Castro and Blackwater rookie Ray Parks Jr.
Thirteen players showed up for the national team's practice on Monday evening, including the returning Kiefer Ravena. The NLEX guard along with players like Paul Lee and Mark Barroca are expected to carry a bigger load in Gilas' campaign with Castro not around.
Expected to fight for slots in the team are CJ Perez of Columbian Dyip and Robert Bolick of NorthPort, two rookies who were invited to the pool after informing Guiao of their interest in playing for the national team.
The coach said they may invite a couple more players.
"Sabi ko nga, 'di pa sarado 'yung pinto," he said. "Mag-iinvite kami siguro … isa na lang o dalawa na lang. Ayaw namin masyado dumami 'yung pool."
For Guiao, the entry of new players in practice sessions have been "a positive" for the national team.
"Pagkanakita nung mga iba na may bago, 'di naman sila naaalangan, 'yung mga bago excited, maganda naman 'yung resulta ng practice," he explained.
"So it looks like bringing in new guys is good for the team. There’s a rivalry, there’s competition, they’re challenging each other, they’re fighting for the slots in a positive way," he said.
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