Fil-German big man Christian Standhardinger will be Team Pilipinas’ naturalized player when the national squad squares off against Iran in their first game in the second round of the World Cup Asian qualifiers.
Standhardinger was chosen by Yeng Guiao over Stanley Pringle, who is now being reserved for coming games.
The team, which is now in Tehran, Iran wants to hand the home team its first defeat. A victory will improve the country’s 4-2 win-loss card in the qualifiers.
Scottie Thompson was named in the final cut in the list that was released yesterday. Alex Cabagnot and Ian Sangalang make their debut as national players.
Marcio Lassiter is returning. He joins the likes of Paul Lee, Gabe Norwood, Raymond Almazan, Beau Belga, Asi Taulava, JP Erram and Allein Maliksi.
On the other hand, an injured Greg Slaughter will sit out the game.
“SBP is pleased with the roster that will play in Iran. We are praying that Coach Yeng’s final 12 will be able to compete and beat the strong Iranian team. It is unfortunate that Greg Slaughter’s injury has not fully healed yet. There is still swelling and contusion on his left ankle. We are very cautious not to rush his comeback as we don’t want to further aggravate his condition. We expect a more complete roster in our future tournaments when June Mar Fajardo and Greg Slaughter are ready to serve and play together for flag and country,” said Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas president Al Panlilio in a statement.
The announcement came a few hours after Chot Reyes confirmed that he is stepping down as head coach.
In taking on Iran, Guiao plans to keep the game close and steal a win in the end.
Guiao does not believe that the team can build a big lead over Iran before hostile fans during their Fiba Basketball World Cup Asian qualifier on Thursday.
“I just want it to be tight toward the end against a home crowd, playing in their home court. Mahirap mag-ambisyon na we get a good lead towards the end against Iran in their home court,” said Guiao in an interview.
Slaughter’s status as a local has been cleared by Fiba, but an ankle injury put his availability in question.
He will instead be reserved for future games. Slaughter could be lined up in the closed-door game against Qatar on Monday.
Meanwhile, after four years of handling the national men’s basketball team, Chot Reyes said he is calling it quits.
Reyes said this is the right time for him to give up his post.
"Now that the PBA has opened its doors fully to the SBP and the national team, it is time for me to step aside and contribute in a different way, focusing on the 2023 program,” said Reyes in a statement.
Reyes explained that he will contribute to the basketball program in a different capacity. He will focus on the 2023 Fiba World Cup which the Philippines will co-host.
His announcement came days after the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP), through chairman emeritus Manny V. Pangilinan, said it is giving Guiao and his staff the task of taking on the national squad on a full-time capacity.
“We have long worked for full support from all of Philippine basketball’s major stakeholders – from Coach Rajko Toroman’s time to my stint in 2013-2014, then Coach Tab Baldwin, until my current tenure,” Reyes in his letter sent on twitter.
He is credited for having led Gilas Pilipinas to a runner-up finish in the 2013 Fiba Asia Championship.
Gilas returned to the Fiba World Cup a year later with him around.
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