Rain or Shine core ready to represent Philippines in Asian Games

The Rain or Shine Elasto Painters are ready to step in for flag and country in the upcoming 2018 Asian Games.

The Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP), together with the PBA, officially announced on Thursday that the core of Rain or Shine will represent the Philippines in the games.

"I'd like to thank officially Rain or Shine for really stepping up to the plate in their commitment to help our Gilas program participate in the Asian Games," said SBP President Al Panlilio after consulting with the PBA Board of Governors at the league's office in Libis.

Coach Yeng Guiao of the NLEX Road Warriors was formally announced as the head coach, reuniting with his former PBA team. Coach Caloy Garcia, who is currently the Rain or Shine coach and a former assistant of Guiao, will be part of the staff.

"Coach Yeng has accepted, after a lot of discussion with the owners," confirmed Panlilio. "And with Coach Caloy as part of his staff. I leave it to them about the coaching staff."

Guiao is no stranger to the international stage having coached the national team in the 2009 FIBA Asia Championship. More recently, he coached the Road Warriors in the 2018 Asia League Summer Super 8 where they placed fourth.

Guiao has to finalize the lineup for the Asian Games. According to the SBP, as the deadline for the roster has already passed. SBP said it is looking at a team that will consistent of seven to eight ROS players, three Gilas Cadets -- Ricci Rivero, Abu Tratter, and Kobe Paras -- and big men such as Asi Taulava of NLEX.

"We're way past deadline for the INASGOC (Indonesia Asian Games Organizing Committee), and we have to submit to OCA (Olympic Council of Asia). We're rushing that and burning the midnight oil," explained Panlilio. "We're giving as many names as we can so Coach Yeng has as many names to work with, not affecting the other PBA teams."

The SBP is also eyeing the participation of Cleveland Cavaliers guard Jordan Clarkson in the Asiad.

"We placed Clarkson [in the lineup], we'll check if he will be allowed," said Panlilio. Clarkson will have to be cleared by the Cavaliers, the NBA and the OCA in order to represent the Philippines.

"With Clarkson we're talking to him, we're negotiating with him," said Panlilio, who shared that there is a mutual interest from Clarkson's party. "[We're getting] clearances from Cavs and NBA and hopefully we get clearance from OCA."

The SBP believes that once it gets approval from the Cavaliers, the NBA will follow suit. The next challenge will be Clarkson's eligibility as a Filipino player with the OCA.

In the meeting, the SBP and PBA also hashed out details about the Elasto Painters. Since the Asian Games will be from August 18 till September 2, it will coincide with the PBA Governor's Cup.

"The Board has decided to stick to the original decision of having one team be affected by the Asian Games," Panlilio pointed out. "It's hard for Commissioner Willie [Marcial] to change the schedule. So the objective of one core team it will be ROS."

"Last board meeting, there will only be one team so that the schedule won't be affected," echoed Commissioner Marcial.

The PBA will adjust the Governor's Cup schedule for Rain or Shine who will be out of the country for roughly 15 days.