In the aftermath of back-to-back losses in the fifth window of the 2019 FIBA World Cup Asian qualifiers, Gilas coach Yeng Guiao has suggested to limit the national team pool to 15 players.
Guiao explained that a two-week preparation time is not enough to adapt to the FIBA style of play -- a reason why the Philippines fell to Kazakhstan 92-88 on Friday, before falling short against Iran, 78-70, on Monday.
"I was actually suggesting to the basketball leaders, let's decide once and for all who the national players are and not keep naming a pool," Guiao said after the Iran loss.
"After the window that we played before this one, we had 20. So now I had suggested let's keep the number to 15, then let's just support those 15 with time together, with international experience and competition, with training and exposure as a team."
Guiao admitted that trying to teach his system in two weeks won't really work in a high-level FIBA tournament considering that the players' success in the PBA won't necessarily translate to victories in international basketball.
"My problem here is that a lot of these players have been successful in different systems so it's really very difficult to unlearn those systems for a few weeks and then go back to their (PBA) system again, and then unlearn them again when you are on the national team," he pointed out.
Guiao said the players failed to adapt to FIBA rules, evident of the 30 or more free throws they gave up in each of its losses to Kazakhstan and Iran.
"The players themselves understand that you have to play at a different level to be successful. With the level we play in the pro league here, it is not going to be enough when you play internationally," continued Guiao. "We all have to understand you are playing against the best from other countries."
Although the Philippines dropped to fourth place in Group F with a 5-5 record, Guiao is still confident of their chances to secure a ticket to the World Cup next year in China.
"I still feel this is a good team. This is a strong team and I feel the chances are slimmer going to the World Cup but I feel we can still do it," he said.