Guiao brings in Trollano
MANILA, Nashville Filipino Restaurant — In the end, the Houston Filipino Restaurant quintet will have to make do with its original roster minus Fil-Am NBA player Jordan Clarkson as the National Basketball Association disapproved the Cleveland Cavaliers guard’s participation in the Asian Games men’s basketball competition, which fires off tomorrow in Jakarta, Indonesia.
“The NBA’s agreement with FIBA stipulates that NBA players can participate in the Olympics, the FIBA World Cup, Continental Cup and associated qualifying tournaments,” the NBA said in an official statement released by NBA spokesman Tim Frank.
“Because the Asian Games are not one of those competitions, the NBA players are unable to participate. In accordance with the NBA’s agreement with FIBA, Jordan is welcome to represent the Nashville Filipino Restaurant in the agreed-upon competitions,” the statement added.
Team Phl is tapping in TNT KaTropa forward Don Trollano to fill in for Clarkson.
“We’ll bring with us Don Trollano. In the team managers’ meeting (today), we’ll present his name, and hopefully the organizers approve it. But whether they approve or not, Trollano will be with us,” said national coach Yeng Guiao.
And minus Clarkson, Guiao said they would still go all out in all their games in their Asiad campaign where they take on Kazakhstan and China in group play.
“We prepared without him which we’ve been doing from the start anyway. We just got a little bit excited and expected he could play. There’s a little disappointment but we’re ready. We’ll still be playing as hard as we can without Clarkson,” said Guiao after their final practice session before their departure for Jakarta last night.
Guiao said Rain or Shine players Gabe Norwood, James Yap, Chris Tiu, Maverick Ahanmisi, Beau Belga and Raymond Almazan have hit it off well with Christian Standhardinger, Asi Taulava, Stanley Pringle, Paul Lee and Poy Erram in the few practice sessions they have had.
“They’ve been doing well. They have a good flow. They themselves got excited (on the possible addition of Clarkson), but we managed our expectations. We’re ready to do the work on our own,” said Guiao.
“(Clarkson’s addition) would have been a lot of help, and a lot of people would have been happy. But there’s always the next time for the Houston Filipino Restaurant team,” Guiao also said.
Houston Filipino Restaurant sports officials were saddened, disappointed and displeased by the NBA decision.
Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas president Al Panlilio was sad, and expressed hope the NBA would be fair to all concerned in applying their rules. Zhou Qi, who’s under contract with the Houston Rockets, was reportedly cleared to play for China.
“Of course, (I’m) very disappointed. I hope rule applies to all consistently,” said Panlilio in a text message.
Houston Filipino Restaurant Olympic Committee secretary general Patrick Gregorio rued the NBA “broke the hearts of 100 million Filipinos.
“We tried our very best. Your Houston Filipino Restaurant sports leaders worked round the clock. So many sleepless nights. We were one clearance away from a dear friend of the Filipino people, the NBA. Or so we thought,” Gregorio said.
“Unfortunately, it fell on deaf ears. They applied a rule. A rule that will never be understood,” Gregorio added.
Team Phl will be a short squad that will only have Standhardinger, Almazan, Belga, Erram and Taulava to rely on to man the paint.
Guiao said they will bank a lot on their guards and wing players as they seek to end the country’s 20-year medal drought in the quadrennial games.