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Guiao calls for Sotto and Edu's outright inclusion in Gilas' lineup for 2023 World Cup

by Niel Victor Masoy, May 14, 2020 7:28pm

Former Gilas Pilipinas head coach Yeng Guiao is okay with the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) sending young teams in certain minor international competitions like it did last February against Indonesia in the FIBA Asia World Cup Qualifiers.

"Sa akin kasi, if you're sending a team to just the windows, yung mga windows lang natin to just maybe qualify or to the Southeast Asian Games or kahit sa Asian Games. At a certain level, maybe you can use younger players," said Guiao in the Hoops Coaches International webinar presented by Blackwater Elite last week.

However, Guiao, who head-coaches the NLEX Road Warriors in the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA), isn't a fan of still sending young teams to major international tourneys, especially in the 2023 World Cup which the Philippines will co-host with Japan and Indonesia.

For Guiao, SBP should still look at the PBA's best players if it wants the national basketball team to succeed in major competitions.

"If you’re really serious about winning and the level of play is at least Asian level, I think you should send your best teams and not just the younger teams or the younger players. Example, let’s say the 2023 yung World Cup, that’s going to be played in the Philippines , that 2023 team, most of them are already playing in the PBA right now. So that team is going to be composed of players who are already playing in the PBA right now," remarked Guiao.

Guiao, though, made some exceptions, saying the Gilas Youth frontcourt duo of Kai Sotto and AJ Edu should be shoo-ins in the national team despite their youth.

"The rookies that we have today, let’s say those are just coming off the draft and even the draft this year , maybe they’ll be lucky if one or two of them will make it to the 2023 national team. Ilagay na natin yung isang slot diyan kay Kai Sotto at maybe yung isa jan kay AJ Edu," he said.

Sotto (18) and Edu (19) have been manning the paint for Gilas Youth for quite some time now, with the last competition they've shared the court together was the 2019 FIBA U-19 World Cup in Greece.

The 7-foot-2 Sotto just took the next major step in developing his game as he confirmed he'll be joining the new NBA G-League Select Team.

On the other hand, the 6-foot-10 Edu, who plays for the University of Toledo Rockets in the US NCAA, continues his recovery from the knee injury he incurred in the U-19 World Cup last year.

"So you have those two guys (Sotto and Edu) we consider young but the rest of the nine or ten members of that team are now already in the PBA. I don’t think those are the rookies we drafted or the rookies we will draft this year." 

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