Guiao says last Gilas Men spot a toss-up between Almazan, Belga

Raymond Almazan and Beau Belga disputed the last spot for the Gilas Men team to the FIBA World Cup. Nina Carezon (file photo)
By Ivan Saldajeno

MANILA--Now it can be told: the last spot in the Gilas Pilipinas Men lineup for the FIBA World Cup came down between Raymond Almazan and Beau Belga.

"We (the coaching staff) really came to a point that it was between Beau Belga or Raymond Almazan," Coach Yeng Guiao said during the weekly PSA Forum at the Amelie Hotel on Tuesday.

Ultimately, Guiao chose Almazan over Belga because he wants to give a chance to Almazan to show what he can do in the international stage.

"Raymond got injured in the last window [of the qualifiers]. Di siya nakalaro noong last window, so we thought that this is a time for him to be able to experience and play for the World Cup," Guiao further said.

Belga played for Gilas Men during the fourth window of the qualifiers.

However, Guiao somehow implied that things would have been different if Poy Erram did not injure his knee in practice last week.

"The injuries to Marcio [Lassiter], Poy, and Matt [Wright] practically decided the outcome of the 12-man lineup," Guiao added.

After taking the Monday off, Gilas Men are to resume their practice at the Meralco Gym in Pasig later Tuesday and will hold an early practice on Wednesday before flying to Foshan on Thursday.

Follow him on Twitter: @IvanSaldajeno