Yeng Guiao
Yeng Guiao resigns; SBP to chart new course
Olmin Leyba (The Philippine Star) - September 12, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — In the aftermath of the FIBA World Cup letdown, the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas will make a course correction on the Gilas Pilipinas program with a new chief strategist at the helm.

Coach Yeng Guiao, who handled the squad that wound up winless and dead last in the 32-team field in the China world meet, took full responsibility for the debacle and quit his post yesterday to allow Gilas a fresh start

“I am sorry we could not deliver a better performance. Our players gave their best against talented, bigger, stronger, and better prepared athletes from the best teams in the world. I truly appreciate their efforts and sacrifices – and that of their families. Our times together will never be erased from my memory,” he said in a statement.

“In the light of all these developments, I am stepping down as the head coach of the Gilas men’s basketball team in order to give the SBP a free hand in building and developing a program towards achieving our objective of competing with the best of the best,” he added.

Guiao’s Gilas tenure lasted a year. After calling the shots for the Philippines in the 2018 Asian Games, Guiao was tapped to call the shots as well in the FIBA World Cup Asian qualifiers in place of Chot Reyes, who was suspended as an offshoot of the ugly brawl between Gilas and Australia.

Guiao steered Gilas to a 3-3 mark in the second round of the qualifiers, enough to give the side a ticket to the China worlds.

“I take pride in having taken over the Gilas program at a point of crisis, where the team was decimated by the suspension of players and coaches after the Australian incident. From there, we put together the team and the program with the support of the SBP, the PBA, and our basketball public, to take fifth place in the Asian Games – our best finish in the last 16 years – with an opportunity to make the finals, except for a loss to China which was decided with one possession. With the help of Filipino-American NBA player Jordan Clarkson, we almost achieved the improbable.

“After some struggles and adjustments through three qualifying windows for the FIBA World Cup, we were able to qualify for our second straight World Cup appearance. This was my only promise to our basketball officials and public – that if we were not able to achieve this, I would gladly step down as head coach of the Gilas program,” he added.

He considered making it to the WC proper only a year after the suspensions a feat in itself.

“It is in this context that I view my year of leading this program in a positive light,” said Guiao, adding he had no regrets taking this job.

“Even if I had known from the beginning that this would be the end result of my decision to accept this coaching job, I would have had no second thoughts in making the same decision. I have no regrets in having taken the path I have taken in the past year; the only regret is that I would have wanted the team to have performed better on the world stage,” he said.

Panlilio said the SBP accepted Guiao’s resignation with “a heavy heart.”

“Coach Yeng Guiao had the unenviable task of picking up the pieces for Gilas Pilipinas men’s team. While the odds are stacked against him, he boldly took on the challenge, displaying the Filipino’s fighting spirit,” he said.

“His selection to take over was unanimous and it spoke volumes about the respect that he has gained throughout his career from all the members of the country’s basketball community.”

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