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Mar 17, 2019

Yeng Guiao on Team Pilipinas' FIBA World Cup stint: 'I believe in miracle'

YENG Guiao is a self-proclaimed believer in miracle, something Team Pilipinas exactly needs if it would go deep into the coming FIBA World Cup.

Bracketed with European powers Serbia and Italy, along with African champion Angola in Group D, Guiao declared it would take a miracle for the Filipinos to beat such world class basketball forces.

Yet there's a positive side to it.

"The good thing about me is I believe in miracles. Naniniwala ako na puwedeng mag-milagro," said Guiao a day after FIBA completed the draw proceedings for the Aug. 31 to Sept. 15 meet in China.

"Kailangan ka rin maghanda para mangyari yung milagro. So we need to prepare for us to be able to do that."

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Serbia finished runner-up to the USA during the 2014 FIBA World Cup in Spain and is expected to be bannered by NBA players Nikola Jokic, Boban Marjanovic, Bogdan Bogdanovic, and Nemanja Bjelica.

The Serbs are currently ranked no. 4 in the world.

Italy on the other hand, is no. 13 in the FIBA rankings and also boasts of NBA stars in its lineup, notably Danilo Galinari and Marco Belleneli.

"If those guys are going to play, mahihirapan talaga tayo," said Guiao.

"I'm not going to say that this is the 'Group of Death.' Sabi ko nga overwhelming underdogs tayo. Maybe this is the 'Group of Near-Death.' Nandoon lang sa gilid-gilid," said Guiao.

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Although Angola is ranked 39th, Guiao said it remains a strong team.

"But I think yun lang ang masasabi nating realistically na mabigyan ng upset siguro," he said of the African nation.

"Pero its going to be a hard game. Makikipag-basagan tayo ng itlog doon para manalo lang. So that's how hard it is going to be."

Team Pilipinas will play Italy first on August 31, followed by Serbia on Sept. 2 and finally Angola on Sept. 4.

"We have to prepare for the miracle to happen," stressed Guiao of the tough task of Team Pilipinas needing to win at least two games in the preliminaries to advance to the next round. (RG)