(SEPTEMBER 11, 2019) – Gilas Pilipinas will soon see a new coach manning the sidelines after Yeng Guiao announced his resignation a few days after the country’s disappointing finish in the FIBA World Cup in China.
Guiao said like all Filipino basketball followers, he too was disappointed with the winless finish, which relegated the national team to last place out of 32 competing teams. The team lost all five games by an average of over 29 points.
“In light of all these developments, I am stepping down, as of today, 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,” the 60-year-old coach said in a statement released on Monday.
“I am sorry we could not deliver a better performance,” he added.
Guiao on Wednesday initiated a major development for the national team after his meeting with Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) top officials, although he did not talk about his status as the head coach.
Although the stint was nothing but forgettable, Guiao commended his players for their efforts against a tall order in Group D of the World Cup, which featured top-tier teams Serbia and Italy, as well as African champions Angola.
“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,” Guiao said.
The SBP, through president Al Panlilio, had accepted Guiao’s resignation.
“It is with a heavy heart that we accept coach Yeng’s resignation as the head coach of Gilas Pilipinas Men. The SBP thanks him for his contributions and wishes him well in all his future endeavors,” Panlilio said in a statement.
The seven-time PBA champion coach took over the reins temporarily from Chot Reyes in the final three windows of the qualifiers. It was also during the aftermath of the Philippines-Australia brawl in July which saw several players and coaches alike suspended.
During the early goings of his stint, Guiao promised he will step down if he will not be able to bring the Philippines to the World Cup.
When Gilas qualified for its second-straight World Cup stint, Guiao viewed it as a “positive light” in his tenure as the leader of the program.
“I knew what conditions existed, what the limitations were, and still, I accepted the challenge. I hold myself responsible for the consequences,” said Guiao.
Guiao is no stranger to being a national team coach, having been selected to man the helm in the 2009 FIBA Asia Championship also in China.
During the 2018 Asian Games, Guiao led the Philippines to a fifth-place finish with the help of Filipino-American NBA guard Jordan Clarkson. (Randell Ritumalta/JMF)
READ YENG GUIAO’S FULL STATEMENT:
As regards the past performance of the GILAS PILIPINAS MEN’S BASKETBALL TEAM in the recent World Cup, I am as disappointed as the rest of the country.
I truly and fully appreciate the efforts and sacrifices of all the players; not just those of the recent FIBA World Cup Team, but of all those who have contributed to the program since my appointment as head coach for the 2018 Asian Games.
I would also like to extend my personal thanks to the coaching staff, trainers, utilities and the management of the Gilas Team for their hard work, support, and cooperation.
I’d like to express special gratitude to the PBA Team Owners and Board of Governors led by Chairman Ricky Vargas and Commissioner Willy Marcial; special mention to Boss Ramon Ang and my friend, Al Chua, as well, for the moral and material support they have extended to our team.
My deep gratitude to Boss Raymund Yu and Boss Terry Que, for keeping their trust in me and endorsing me to coach the Rain or Shine core team in the 2018 Asian Games, which led to my appointment as Head Coach of the Gilas Team.
Special thanks to Boss Rod Franco, NLEX Management, and the whole team for their understanding and support as I served my country in my capacity as Head Coach of the Gilas Team, thereby diluting my focus and attention from my duties to them. I am now back home in NLEX to fully focus on winning our first championship.
Above all, I am most thankful to SBP Chairman Manny V. Pangilinan and SBP President Al Panlilio for the opportunity to have been of service to the country in the sport I love most.
To all fans and friends who wished us well, supported us, and offered their prayers, I am grateful from the bottom of my heart.
I am truly blessed to have coached the best that Philippine Basketball has to offer and to have competed amongst the best in the world. I consider the past year, most especially our participation in the World Cup, as the highlight of my career.
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.
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 5th 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.
After all the hard work and struggles, the stars aligned for us and the Philippines made it to the top 32 elite teams in the world and this, only a year after the team was almost decimated by suspensions.
It is in this context that I view my year of leading this program in a positive light.
The efforts and sacrifices of all those involved, overcoming the many trials and tribulations, putting ourselves on the world stage of basketball I can only wish we could have performed better these past two weeks, but the odds were stacked against us.
Nonetheless, I take full responsibility.
I knew what conditions existed, what the limitations were, and still, I accepted the challenge. I hold myself responsible for the consequences.
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.
In the light of all these developments, I am stepping down, as of today, 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.
I am truly grateful for the opportunity to serve our country through the sport we love most.
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