Yeng Guiao has been named the head coach for Gilas Pilipinas on a permanent basis.
"It's no longer interim, and it's no longer temporary, so this is until the World Cup, at least until next year," said Guiao, after he announced his national team pool for the fifth window of the tournament's continental qualifiers at the Smart Araneta Coliseum in Quezon City on Tuesday night.
Guiao was named the interim Gilas coach for the Asian Games and the fourth window of the FIBA World Cup qualifiers (WCQ), following the complications arising from the one-game suspension handed by FIBA to erstwhile gaffer Chot Reyes for failing to control his players during the infamous Gilas-Australia brawl on July 2.
However, Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas chairman emeritus Manny Pangilinan already hinted at the possibility of Guiao leading the Nationals after the fourth window as early as September.
"Coach Yeng was a revelation (especially on) how he managed to bring the team together (considering the) different personalities from different teams and how Jordan Clarkson also blended with the team," Pangilinan said. "Coach Yeng has done a magnificent job."
A week after Pangilinan's statements, Reyes "stepped aside" from coaching Gilas, further leaning to the possibility that Guiao could become the permanent coach.
The current NLEX tactician himself confirmed the development.
"The formal appointment came out this morning before the (PBA board) meeting," Guiao said.
Speaking of the Road Warriors, he added that he will stay as their mentor.
"I'm taking on two coaching jobs at this point, and at the same time, I'm campaigning for my district," said Guiao, who is vying for a congressional spot in the 1st District of Pampanga.
In related news, a total of 18 Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) stars and two members of the Gilas Cadets were named into the national team pool for the fifth window of the FIBA World Cup Qualifiers.
During the press conference on Tuesday, Guiao named the players to the pool of the so-called "Gilas Elites".
They are TNT's Jayson Castro and Troy Rosario, Magnolia's Paul Lee and Ian Sangalang, NorthPort's Stanley Pringle, San Miguel's Alex Cabagnot, Marcio Lassiter, Arwind Santos, Junemar Fajardo, and Chris Standhardinger, Ginebra's LA Tenorio, Scottie Thompson, Japeth Aguilar, and Greg Slaughter, Phoenix's Matt Wright, Rain Or Shine's Gabe Norwood and Beau Belga, and Blackwater's Poy Erram.
Joining the pro stars are Ateneo High School's Kai Sotto and incoming University of the Philippines player Ricci Rivero, who are part of the "23 for 23" cadets pool.
"I think this will be one of the best teams if not the best team that we would ever form to represent the Philippines in international competitions," said Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) president Al Panlilio. "Both the PBA and the SBP support the proposal of Coach Yeng Guiao."
Gilas will begin its training camp on Monday night.
The camp will feature separate two-game tune-up series against Jordan and Lebanon.
Gilas will play host to Kazakhstan on Nov. 30 and Iran on Dec. 3 in the fifth window of the FIBA WCQ at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City.*PNA
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