SPORTS KEN: Guiao is an honorable man

FRED LUMBA - edge davao
FRED LUMBA – edge davao

As far as I’m concerned, the FIBA World Cup is already over.

That’s because the USA, touted always as the kings of world basketball, was embarrassed by France in the quarterfinals and thus closed its aspirations to annex anew the other title that almost parallels the prestige of the Olympics gold.

Never mind. Without the acknowledged US stars (Lebron James, Kevin Durant, Steph Curry, James Harden, Klay Thompson, Anthony Davis, Paul George, Chris Paul) in the American line-up, no basketball fanatic worth his salt will put his marbles on the ragtag US team.

My point is that head coach Greg Popovich of the San Antonio Spurs made do with what he could assemble as the “best” platoon that will scrimmage against the world’s contenders dying to “eliminate” the American domination of the hoops game.

This is the context that I wish to convey to Pinoy basketball fans: That coach Yeng Guiao also made do with the materials he had, the time constraints that included the cultivation and development of a team chemistry and the lack of adequate foreign exposure. Kumbaga, remedyo na lang.

I had expected Guiao’s resignation ASAP because of the disappointing performance of Gilas. Not a single win in four matches is just too much to bear. The guy needed no more prompting because Guiao is an honorable person.

Granting even if SBP hired the best coach that could be found at the time, the chap would not be able to immediately transform that same Gilas into a marvelous fighting machine. No way, Jose.

          Pinoy sports fans should squarely put the blame on the SBP and the PBA instead. Why?

Because they are the policy and decision makers who could have afforded the Guiao-led Gilas more than just the equitable time to prepare, train and jell together. But they did not.

The SBP people knew what kind of opposition Gilas would meet in the WC. Why did they not request the PBA to suspend the Commissioner’s Cup for a little while and let all the best PBA players nominated to the Gilas national team join the practices much ahead of the Aug. 31 FIBA competitions?

Watching Gilas sorely grope for form during their encounters against Italy, Serbia, Angola and Iran was just exasperating. Too many turnovers, tentative offensive maneuvers, poor outside shooting and the absence of team chemistry did the Filipinos in.

          Anyway, I salute Guiao for handing in his resignation, giving SBP a free hand to pick a new head coach if they so deem.

Let’s not call the China WC a debacle. As a long time basketball observer, (I had watched Caloy Loyzaga et al battle their counterparts since the 1954 Manila Asian Games and have compared the evolution of the national team from then on till now) I can tell you that our Asian opponents – China, South Korea, Iran, Jordan, Japan and even Taiwan – are moving better ahead of us in talent identification, recruitment and development.

Had SBP moved promptly in the scouting area, it could have already worked much earlier with FIBA to assure the inclusion of Fil-Am Jordan Clarkson when he initially entered the NBA five or four seasons ago.

Anyway, this is already water under the bridge. I hope there were great though bitter lessons learned from the China experience.

Last word: SBP guys should likewise apologize to the nation. If Yeng Guiao is being crucified by fanatics, they should also carry the cross. (Email your feedback to fredlumba@yahoo.com.) GOD BLESS THE PHILIPPINES!