According to national coach Yeng Guiao, leaving a slot open for Filipino-American NBA guard Jordan Clarkson on the Philippine men's basketball team roster competing in the 2018 Asian Games is worth the risk.
Guiao is set to consult his coaching staff and officials from the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) for the 12-man lineup that will suit up for the continental meet in Indonesia. An important part of the discussion is the Cleveland Cavaliers player's availability.
SBP president Al Panlilio earlier said that they are 'working very hard' to bring Clarkson in but they have yet to get clearance from the NBA and the Asiad organizers about his eligibility.
"Of course, I hope he's there but I don't have news yet about his situation," Guiao said.
Guiao already revealed 10 names that are shoo-ins for the final roster. Aside from the Rain or Shine core of Chris Tiu, Maverick Ahanmisi, Gabe Norwood, Raymond Almazan, Beau Belga and James Yap, San Miguel's Christian Standhardinger, GlobalPort's Stanley Pringle, Magnolia's Paul Lee and Blackwater's Poy Erram are virtually assured of spots.
That means two more will be chosen among NLEX's Asi Taulava, TNT's Don Trollano and Gilas cadets Ricci Rivero and Kobe Paras. But Guiao is also awaiting news from the SBP about having Clarkson on board.
"Do we need to reserve a slot for him or not? I don't know the answer to that yet," admitted Guiao. "If there's no possibility, why would we leave a slot open? But if there's any possibility, I think it's worth the risk."
The final lineup is expected to be announced on Friday after the team's fifth practice.
With only a few days left before their first game against Kazakhsktan on August 16, Guiao has already mapped out their plans for the rest of their training sessions.
"In the last four days, we worked on our patterns for our transition game. It's important that we're quick. We can already run our half-court sets and some patterns," he said. "There are many teams that play zone in the international game and we're preparing to counter that. We'll work on inbound plays and defense next."
"We will repeat everything when we arrive in Indonesia," Guiao added. "A big part of what we will do in Indonesia is doing our scouting of Kazakhstan and watching a lot of videos."
The Philippine team is scheduled to fly to Jakarta on Sunday, August 12.