Gilas Pilipinas coach Yeng Guiao is open to facing Australia and New Zealand in tuneup games leading up to the FIBA World Cup in China.
Australia and the Philippines were involved in the infamous July 2, 2018 fracas at the Philippine Arena in Bocaue, Bulacan during the third window of the FIBA World Cup Asian qualifiers.
The fallout from the brawl led to suspensions and wholesale changes to the program and roster, including Guiao taking over as head coach.
"I don't have anything against [Australia and New Zealand]. In fact, my only criteria is we simply want [to face competition] close to the level of competition in the World Cup," Guiao told ESPN5 on Monday.
Guiao said pocket tournaments or a series of friendly games are options to consider since Gilas will not play in the William Jones Cup in Chinese Taipei in July.
"The Jones Cup is already out of the question because that doesn't fit in the PBA schedule and the tournament is quite long," Guiao said. "The Jones Cup schedule runs smack with the schedule of the PBA so we still have to discuss with the PBA and the SBP (Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas) the possibilities for training."
Guiao would like Gilas to have at least three solid months to prepare for the FIBA World Cup. Guiao has said Gilas is aiming to win at least one game.
Gilas is in Group D with basketball powers Italy and Serbia, as well as Angola. The FIBA World Cup runs from August 31 to September 15. NBA players Nikola Jokic, Boban Marjanovic, Bogdan Bogdanovic, and Nemanja Bjelica could suit up for Serbia, which is ranked fourth in the world.
Italy enters the tournament ranked 13th in the world, while Angola is 39th. The Philippines is ranked 31st.