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3 children, brother and wife funneled $20-M into hotel, properties in California

By ALFRED GABOT and CLAIRE MORALES TRUE

 

INDICTED IN U.S. Alleged pork barrel scam queen Janet Lim Napoles in a police mug shot and her daughter Jeane Catherine in one of her social media posts on her lavish lifestyle in the US which triggered a US investigation and eventual filing of charges.

 

LOS ANGELES/MANILA – The US Department of Justice has secured the indictment for money laundering and conspiracy involving $20 million (over P1 billion) alleged Philippine pork barrel scam mastermind Janet Lim Napoles, her three children, a brother and his wife and as such would face extradition so they will be tried by US courts.

 

Indicted last July 31 (US time) with Janet Napoles, 54, by a federal grand jury for conspiring to funnel in and out of the United States approximately $20 million in Philippine public funds obtained through a multi-year bribery and fraud scheme were childdren Jo Christine Napoles, 34; James Christopher Napoles, 33; Jeane Catherine Napoles, 28; and brother Reynald Luy Lim, 52, and his wife Ana Marie Lim, 47.

 

The older Napoles is currently detained at the Philippine National Police detention center in Camp Bagong Diwa in Taguig City and all five of her family members, who were named defendants in the money laundering case in the United States (US), are now all in the country after Jeane Catherine, who earlier faced P17 million tax evasion case but eventually cleared, left the country last July 27 for Bali, Indonesia and has since returned to Manila.

 
The Philippine government in February provisionally accepted Napoles as a state witness, a decision which caused the resignation of then Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre. She was removed from the WPP by the new justice secretary Menardo Guevarra last May. 

 

Lawyer Ian Encarnacion, who fetched Jean Catherine at the airport, assured his client was ready to face the cases lodged not only in the Philippines but also those in the US.

 

"She (Jean Catherine) is here in the Philippines and she will face all the cases against her, both here and abroad.  We maintain our client's innocence and we look forward to having these cases dismissed," Encarnacion said.

 

Five years ago, Jeane posted on social media her luxurious and lavish lifestyle in Los Angeles where she owns a unit at the Ritz Carlton Residences building worth $800, 000 to $9.3 million. Her ostentatious display of wealth tipped off US authorities and conducted an investigation which led to the filing of charges against her.

 

The young Jeane Napoles has also studied at prestigious Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandise with $30, 000 yearly tuition fee. She also owns a condo unit worth $1.475 million.

 

In September 2012, US investigators discovered the fraud during the audit before it was exposed in the Philippines. Three years later, she was ordered arrested after failing to attend her arraignment on the tax charges. In 2016, Napoles refused to enter a plea during her arraignment and remained in the country unemployed and eventually left US for the Philippines.

 

 Mrs. Napoles spent two years at the Correctional Institution for Women in Mandaluyong City following a guilty verdict meted out to her by a Makati City judge for the serious illegal detention of her cousin Benhur Luy, the primary whistleblower in the scam, but she was later acquitted of that charge by the Court of Appeals.

 

In Manila, Mrs. Napoles has five plunder cases before the anti-graft court Sandiganbayan, and dozens of graft and malversation cases in connection with the P10 billion PDAF scam. Her children Jo Christine and James Cristopher are facing a hundred counts of graft and malversation before the Sandiganbayan over their connection to the P900 million Malampaya fund scam.

 

 Malacañang said the indictment of Janet Lim-Napoles before the United States Department of Justice has strengthened the government’s case against the alleged pork barrel scam mastermind.

 

“We view the United States federal grand jury indictment against Mrs. Janet Lim-Napoles as a positive development, as it bolsters the government’s case against her before the Sanddiganbayan,” Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said in a statement.

 

“The charge of money laundering against Mrs. Napoles and her co-defendants shows that there is reason to believe that they attempted to retain the ill-gotten gains from the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) scam,” Roque said.

 

Roque said he believed that with the continuous coordination with US authorities, the funds that Napoles and her co-defendants stashed will soon be returned for the benefit of Filipinos.

 

“As more of Mrs. Napoles’ schemes come to light, it becomes imperative to charge all those who illegal profited from her transactions, regardless of their position or political affiliation,” Roque said.

 

Mrs. previously asked the Supreme Court to stop her indictment in the PDAF cases but her petitions had been dismissed.

 

The Department of Justice (DOJ) of the Philippines is coordinating with its American counterpart regarding the charges against Mrs. Napoles and her five family members, Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra said.

 

 “We have been quietly working together with the US (Department) of Justice regarding the conspiracy to commit money laundering cases. We welcome this development, as it paves the way for the return of the people's money to our national treasury,” Guevarra said.

 

Guevarra, however, stressed that the cases against Napoles in the Philippines would have to be settled first before she can be extradited to the US.

 

“Although we cannot extradite Napoles until her cases in Philippine courts have been terminated, the DOJ will extend all assistance to its US counterpart in prosecuting the money laundering cases, and in ensuring the people's money is returned in due time to our national treasury,” he added.

 

He said some family members of Napoles who are not indicted in the Philippines may be extradited to the US.

 

In a statement, the US Department of Justice said four defendants together with approximately 20 Philippines legislators and other government officials not charged in U.S. indictments converted to their own benefit hundreds of millions of dollars in Philippine public funds through the intricate scheme and then transmitted approximately $20 million from that scheme into the United States to purchase assets, including real property and luxury vehicles.

 

The US justice department said the defendants fraudulently converted money from a lump-sum discretionary “Priority Development Assistance Fund” granted to each member of the Philippines Congress as well as other government funds designed to benefit poor Filipinos.

 

Approximately $20 million of those funds were diverted to money remitters in the Philippines and then wired to Southern California bank accounts where the money was used to purchase real estate, shares in two businesses, two Porsche Boxsters, and finance the living expenses of three family members residing in the United States: Jeane Napoles, Reynald Lim, and Ana Lim.

 

It was reported two of the properties were a hotel near Disneyland and an apartment.

 

The charges of Conspiracy to Commit Money Laundering, Domestic Money Laundering and International Money Laundering handed down pertain to events beginning in September 2012 and continuing through August 2014. In September 2012, an audit discovered the fraud. In July 2013, the fraud and the U.S. proceeds were exposed in the Philippine press.

 

 In August 2013, Jannet Napoles was arrested by Philippine authorities and Napoles family bank accounts were frozen in the Philippines. Thereafter, Napoles and her family members attempted to quietly liquidate the assets in the United States, secretly repatriate most of the resulting funds back to the Philippines and to other accounts in the U.S. and United Kingdom, and disburse some of the funds to Jeane Napoles, who used the money to finance her lifestyle and open a fashion business.

 

“Even after Jannet Napoles made a highly publicized statement admitting that she had bribed Philippine legislators in connection with these ‘ghost projects,’ the defendants attempted to convert the proceeds of this crime to their own use,” said United States Attorney Nick Hanna.

 

“The efforts of the Philippine and American investigators demonstrates that there are consequences to abusing the public trust and we hope to deter such conduct in the future. To do this, we will work with our Philippine counterparts to secure the extradition of the defendants to the United States,” Hanna said.

 

According to court documents, approximately $12.5 million in Southern California real estate has been seized by the United States Attorney’s Office and is subject to a civil forfeiture case pending before United States District Judge James V. Selna.

 

If the court orders the assets forfeited, the United States will work with Philippine officials in an attempt to return the stolen funds back to the Philippine government, the US justice department said.

 

U.S. authorities have received ongoing cooperation and substantial assistance from the Philippine government, including the Department of Justice, the Office of the Ombudsman, the Anti-Money Laundering Council, and the Commission on Audit, which responded to official requests pursuant to the Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty between the Philippines and the United States and through the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network.

 

The case is being investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Daniel O’Brien, Deputy Chief of the Public Corruption and Civil Rights Section.

 

Philippine Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra, however, stressed that the cases against Napoles in the Philippines would have to be settled first before she can be extradited to the US.

 

“Although we cannot extradite Napoles until her cases in Philippine courts have been terminated, the DOJ will extend all assistance to its US counterpart in prosecuting the money laundering cases, and in ensuring the people's money is returned in due time to our national treasury,” he added.

 

The Justice Department has yet to receive a copy of the formal indictment from its American counterpart.

 

“From what I know, there is a separate case for civil forfeiture in the US that will trigger the return of the laundered money to the Philippines. However, that forfeiture case will have to await the outcome of the money laundering and other fraud cases against Napoles and her family,” Guevarra said.

 

He added that two options are available concerning Napoles’ possible extradition to the US: (1) defer extradition proceedings until the Philippine case is terminated and/or she has served her sentence; or (2) temporarily surrender her to the requesting state so that she may be prosecuted there, subject to terms and conditions as may be agreed upon by the Philippines and the US.

 

The US has to file a formal request for the Philippine justice department to commence extradition proceedings in a domestic court, which will then determine whether Napoles is extraditable.

 

Napoles is being accused of creating bogus non-governmental organizations (NGOs) or the so-called Napoles NGOs that connived with politicians and government officials in the country in a scam involving the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) or pork barrel fund. Politicians and lawmakers allegedly got kickbacks from the scam.

 

Former senators Juan Ponce Enrile, Jose "Jinggoy" Estrada and Ramon "Bong" Revilla Jr., their staff and several other politicians and government officials have been tagged in the scam.

 

Relatives of Janet Lim Napoles, who had been indicted for allegedly conspiring to illegally transmit Philippine government funds worth US$20 million to the United States, can be extradited provided that they are not facing charges in the country, the Department of Justice (DOJ) said.

 

“Those (indicted Napoles kin) who are here and not facing charges in Philippine courts may be the subject of a request for extradition; those who are in the US may be immediately arrested,” Guevarra said.

 

 “We shall continue to extend legal assistance to our US counterparts, including the possible extradition of certain persons who might be found here,” he added.

 

Napoles was admitted to the program on Feb. 27, wherein the DOJ granted her security protection for witness duty only for a period not exceeding 90 days, Guevarra said.

 

Napoles had requested to be admitted into the WPP of the DOJ due to alleged threats to her personal security, specifically requesting protection by way of transfer from her place of detention at Camp Bagong Diwa.

 

“Considering the denial of Napoles’ urgent motion for transfer of custody to the DOJ WPSBP by the 1st, 3rd and 5th Divisions of the Sandiganbayan, the main purpose of which Napoles had sought admission into WPSBP, has become moot and academic,” Guevarra said in a statement.

 

“As there has been no further claim of threats to her personal security inside the Camp Bagong Diwa, the Secretary of Justice has found no reason to extend further Napoles’ provisional coverage under WPP,” he noted.

By Celeste Anna Formoso

 

 

(Photo by Celeste Anna R. Formoso)

 

PUERTO PRINCESA CITY, Palawan – When Arjay Espartero went to Long Beach, California on July 4 to join the World Championship of Performing Arts (WCOPA), all he had was trust in his ability as a vocal soloist and the longing to bring honor to his country and the province of Palawan.

 

WCOPA is no joke. It is touted to be an Olympic-style international competition for aspiring performers and entertainers. Every year, more than 2,500 singers, musicians, dancers, variety artists, actors, and models from at least 63 countries compete against one another to win medals in various categories.

 

Espartero, 33, who in his youth had to deal with making charcoal out of abandoned wood trunks to earn a living with his poor family in Narra town in the southern part of the province, is the first Palaweño to take home four medals and a plaque from the WCOPA international meet held on July 6-15 in California.

 

He won a silver medal for his contemporary rendition of the song “Bridge Over Troubled Water”, another silver for Josh Groban’s Latin song “Un Giorno Per Noi”, and gold for his version of the country song “Home” by Michael Buble. He also received a plaque as WCOPA Contemporary Division Winner for singing.

 

Espartero likewise took home a bronze for captivating judges in the formal modeling category.

 

He said he was introduced to the WCOPA by a friend who thought he has a chance to be selected to join the Philippine team and represent Palawan.

 

“Nagkaroon ng audition last September 2017 na sinalihan ko. So ‘yon, I’m so happy dahil sa dami ng nag-audition, isa ako sa mga nakapasa. More than 5,000 ang nag-audition all over the Philippines para sa WCOPA at 500 lang ang nakapasa (There was an audition in September 2017. I joined, and I’m so happy because out of all those who auditioned, I passed. More than 5,000 auditioned all over the Philippines for the WCOPA and only 500 were selected),” he said.

 

Espartero did not expect to win any medal in the worldwide competition.


Though kind and ready to make friends with competitors, every contender in the WCOPA desired nothing except to win, no matter what.

 

“Lahat ng nandoon talagang magagaling. Kung baga yong pinakamagaling na ata sa mga bansa nila. Pero masayang-masaya ako kasi nakapagdala ako ng karangalan sa bansa natin, dito sa Palawan, at sa hometown ko sa Narra (Everyone who was there were all talented. They’re their countries’ best. But I am very happy that I was able to bring honor to our country, to Palawan, and to my hometown Narra),” he said.

 

“Ang gusto ko lang, maiahon ang pamilya ko sa kahirapan sa pamamagitan ng talento ko. Kahit paano, gusto ko mabigyan ko sila ng magandang buhay kasi talagang lumaki kami sa hirap. Gusto ko rin makapag-inspire ng ibang mga Palaweño na hindi hadlang ang kahirapan para maabot mo ang gusto mong marating (What I really long for is to lift my family out of poverty through my talent. As much as possible, I want to give them a good life because we grew up really poor. I also want to inspire other Palaweños that poverty is not a limitation, that it is not a hindrance to what they want to achieve in life),” he said.

 

Espartero’s singing career, coupled with good looks and height, has already attracted talent scouts who are willing to help him break into the showbiz industry. A record producer has also expressed interest for him to make an album.

 

In the following days, he would be preparing to join artist Jed Madela, the first Filipino to be inducted into the Hall of Fame of the WCOPA, in his out-of-town shows and concerts.

 

"Nagpapasalamat ako sa mga tumulong sa akin para makapunta sa competition sa California. Malaki ang tulong niyo sa pag-abot ko ng aking pangarap (I am thankful to the people who helped me get to California. Your help for me to reach my dream is so great)," the Narra artist said. (PNA)

 

By EDDIE G. ALINEA | Sports Editor & Columnist

 

(Photo from Instagram | @coachot)

 

MANILA – The Philippine team will compete in the Asian Games in Indonesia after all.

 

Nearly two weeks after controversially withdrawing its participation in the Asiad, the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) formally said that it will send a squad to Jakarta for the quadrennial meet.

 

As expected, the key players of Rain ohine will make up the bulk of the national team lineup to be coached by current NLEX mentor Roseller Yeng Guiao. Caloy Garcia, ROS' chief gaffer, will serve as Guiao's associate.

 

"Kasama po rito si Maverick Ahanmisi, Chris Tiu, Gabe Norwood, James Yap, Beau Belga, at si Raymond Almazan," Guiao announced the Elasto Painters' core that will play in the Asiad.

 

They will be joined by Asi Taulava, one of Guiao's players at NLEX, Magnolia's Paul Lee, San Miguel's Chris Standhardinger, GlobalPort's Stanley Pringle, Blackwater's Poy Erram, TNT's Don Trollano, and Gilas cadets Kobe Paras and Ricci Rivero.

 

While Guiao announced a 14-man pool during a press conference at the Smart Araneta Coliseum in Quezon City prior to Game 5 of the Commissioner's Cup Finals between Ginebra and San Miguel, he added, "We will cut that down to 12 before we leave."

 

Daily practices, according to Guiao, will begin on Monday night at the Meralco Gym in Pasig City and will go full throttle when the team heads to the Indonesian capital on Aug. 14.

 

Philippine Olympic Committee president and Philippine Basketball Association board chairman Ricky Vargas assured, "Hindi lang [ito]team but it's going to be a competitive team. We promise our basketball fans that we're not only sending a team but we're also sending a team that they will be proud of." 

 

Presidential assistant Christopher Lawrence Bong Go said Gilas and the rest of the Philippine team that will go to Jakarta and Palembang for the quadrennial meet will have President Rodrigo Duterte’s full support.

 

"Maaasahan ng Philippine delegates sa Asian Games ang buong suporta ng administrasyon ni Pangulong Rodrigo Duterte. Andito kami para suportahan ang mga manlalarong Pilipino na magdadala ng karangalan sa ating bansa (The Philippine delegates to the Asian Games should expect the full support of President Rodrigo Duterte's administration. We are here to support the Filipino athletes who bring honor to our country)," Go said. 

 

A day after getting the imprimatur to represent the country in the coming Asian Games, coach Yeng Guiao and members of the Philippine basketball team met for the first time on August 6 to start their short but extensive preparations at the Meralco gym in Pasig City.

 

Only light skirmishes were scheduled, mostly for purposes of designing plays that will be, Guiao hoped, able to master comes competition time as his boys responded spiritedly.

   

“Maganda ang simula,” Guiao, who is in his second stint as a national mentor following the 2009 FIBA-Asia, assessed. “Feeling ko, inspired ang mga bata. Alam naman natin na biglaan ito at ilan sa kanila ay hindi man mang makakaisip na makalalaro sila sa Asiad representing our flag had it not for the circumstances presently prevailing in th local basketball community.”

 

PBA Commissioner Willie Marcial, one of the people responsible for the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas’ change of heart from not sending a team to eventually allowing the country’s participation owing to a strong public clamor, agreed.

 

“Alam mo, dapat nga nating hangaan at purihin and mga manlalarong ito who defied criticism that they don’t really deserve being in the national team,” Marcial emphasized.

 

“To me, these guys are already winners in the sense that they save Philippine basketball from being in the doldrums had earlier decision to not play in the Asiad pushed through,” Marcial added.

 

“That’ right,” Raymond Yu, who co-owned the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters franchise with Terry Que, butted in. “These boys saved, too, our relations with all Olympic Council of Asia member countries for agreeing to play in the midst of kantyaw ibibabato sa kanila ng ilang kababayan natin.”

 

“And for that, I consider them our modern day dheroes, ngayon pa lamang na hindi pa nagsisimua ang Asa Games,” Yu declared.

 

 “Most importantly, we must thank our basketball-crazy kababayans who didn’t stop clamoring that we send a team in a sport closest to their hearts, Marcial said. “Our thanks also go to the PBA, the SBP and the Philippine Olympic Committee for heeding the insistent demand from our basketball-loving people.”

 

Given the limited time to prepare and the equally limited talents available, Guiao said his team has sufficient manpower to perform creditably and decently and win as many games possible that will make the Filipinos happy.

 

“Out of this pool of players, we hope to build a team composed of 12 men who might come short of coming to the medal podium, but, win the admiration and respect of our people and those of our rivals,” Guiao vowed.

 

“Sisiguruhin namin sa coaching staff at sa mga mamumuno ng ating koponan na ang mga batang ipadadala sa Indonesia ay makapagbibigay karangalan sa aking bansa at sa pangalang Pilipino kung hindi man medalya,” Guiao vowed.

 

“Of course, we’ll try our best to bring home that coveted basketball edal our countrymen have been craving for quite some time,” he added.

 

All but one members of the team – Gabe Norwood, Beau Belga, Raymond Almazan, James Yap, Chris Tiu and Maverick Ahanmisi, all of Rain or Shine Paul Lee of Magnolia Hotshots, Stanley Pringle of Global Port, Don Trollano of Talk ‘N Text, Asi Taulava of NLEX, Poy Erram of Blackwater and Gilas Cadets Kobe Paras and Ricci Rivero – were in attendance.

 

Only San Miguel Beer’ contribution to Guiao’s selection, Christian Stanhardinger, wasn’t around, attending the Beermen’s preparation for their on-going best-of-seven series in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup, now in Game 5.

 

Another Cadet member, Abu Tratter, filled the void in Stanhardinger’s absence by joining the light, but, inspired workout scheduled for the day that satisfied Guiao, assistant coach Coy Garcia, ROS owner Yu PBA Board of Governors member, Atty, Mamerto Mondragon, and PBA Commissioner Willie Marcial, among others.     

 

Before practice began, Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) president Ricky Vargas, Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) president Al Panlilio, Yu and Guiao spoke to the team in a closed-door meeting.

 

The squad will leave for Jakarta on August 14 before plunging to action on August 16.  

By EDDIE G. ALINEA | Sports Editor & Columnist

 

(Photo from Instagram | @coachot)

 

MANILA – The Philippine team will compete in the Asian Games in Indonesia after all.

 

Nearly two weeks after controversially withdrawing its participation in the Asiad, the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) formally said that it will send a squad to Jakarta for the quadrennial meet.

 

As expected, the key players of Rain ohine will make up the bulk of the national team lineup to be coached by current NLEX mentor Roseller Yeng Guiao. Caloy Garcia, ROS' chief gaffer, will serve as Guiao's associate.

 

"Kasama po rito si Maverick Ahanmisi, Chris Tiu, Gabe Norwood, James Yap, Beau Belga, at si Raymond Almazan," Guiao announced the Elasto Painters' core that will play in the Asiad.

 

They will be joined by Asi Taulava, one of Guiao's players at NLEX, Magnolia's Paul Lee, San Miguel's Chris Standhardinger, GlobalPort's Stanley Pringle, Blackwater's Poy Erram, TNT's Don Trollano, and Gilas cadets Kobe Paras and Ricci Rivero.

 

While Guiao announced a 14-man pool during a press conference at the Smart Araneta Coliseum in Quezon City prior to Game 5 of the Commissioner's Cup Finals between Ginebra and San Miguel, he added, "We will cut that down to 12 before we leave."

 

Daily practices, according to Guiao, will begin on Monday night at the Meralco Gym in Pasig City and will go full throttle when the team heads to the Indonesian capital on Aug. 14.

 

Philippine Olympic Committee president and Philippine Basketball Association board chairman Ricky Vargas assured, "Hindi lang [ito]team but it's going to be a competitive team. We promise our basketball fans that we're not only sending a team but we're also sending a team that they will be proud of." 

 

Presidential assistant Christopher Lawrence Bong Go said Gilas and the rest of the Philippine team that will go to Jakarta and Palembang for the quadrennial meet will have President Rodrigo Duterte’s full support.

 

"Maaasahan ng Philippine delegates sa Asian Games ang buong suporta ng administrasyon ni Pangulong Rodrigo Duterte. Andito kami para suportahan ang mga manlalarong Pilipino na magdadala ng karangalan sa ating bansa (The Philippine delegates to the Asian Games should expect the full support of President Rodrigo Duterte's administration. We are here to support the Filipino athletes who bring honor to our country)," Go said. 

 

A day after getting the imprimatur to represent the country in the coming Asian Games, coach Yeng Guiao and members of the Philippine basketball team met for the first time on August 6 to start their short but extensive preparations at the Meralco gym in Pasig City.

 

Only light skirmishes were scheduled, mostly for purposes of designing plays that will be, Guiao hoped, able to master comes competition time as his boys responded spiritedly.

   

“Maganda ang simula,” Guiao, who is in his second stint as a national mentor following the 2009 FIBA-Asia, assessed. “Feeling ko, inspired ang mga bata. Alam naman natin na biglaan ito at ilan sa kanila ay hindi man mang makakaisip na makalalaro sila sa Asiad representing our flag had it not for the circumstances presently prevailing in th local basketball community.”

 

PBA Commissioner Willie Marcial, one of the people responsible for the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas’ change of heart from not sending a team to eventually allowing the country’s participation owing to a strong public clamor, agreed.

 

“Alam mo, dapat nga nating hangaan at purihin and mga manlalarong ito who defied criticism that they don’t really deserve being in the national team,” Marcial emphasized.

 

“To me, these guys are already winners in the sense that they save Philippine basketball from being in the doldrums had earlier decision to not play in the Asiad pushed through,” Marcial added.

 

“That’ right,” Raymond Yu, who co-owned the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters franchise with Terry Que, butted in. “These boys saved, too, our relations with all Olympic Council of Asia member countries for agreeing to play in the midst of kantyaw ibibabato sa kanila ng ilang kababayan natin.”

 

“And for that, I consider them our modern day dheroes, ngayon pa lamang na hindi pa nagsisimua ang Asa Games,” Yu declared.

 

 “Most importantly, we must thank our basketball-crazy kababayans who didn’t stop clamoring that we send a team in a sport closest to their hearts, Marcial said. “Our thanks also go to the PBA, the SBP and the Philippine Olympic Committee for heeding the insistent demand from our basketball-loving people.”

 

Given the limited time to prepare and the equally limited talents available, Guiao said his team has sufficient manpower to perform creditably and decently and win as many games possible that will make the Filipinos happy.

 

“Out of this pool of players, we hope to build a team composed of 12 men who might come short of coming to the medal podium, but, win the admiration and respect of our people and those of our rivals,” Guiao vowed.

 

“Sisiguruhin namin sa coaching staff at sa mga mamumuno ng ating koponan na ang mga batang ipadadala sa Indonesia ay makapagbibigay karangalan sa aking bansa at sa pangalang Pilipino kung hindi man medalya,” Guiao vowed.

 

“Of course, we’ll try our best to bring home that coveted basketball edal our countrymen have been craving for quite some time,” he added.

 

All but one members of the team – Gabe Norwood, Beau Belga, Raymond Almazan, James Yap, Chris Tiu and Maverick Ahanmisi, all of Rain or Shine Paul Lee of Magnolia Hotshots, Stanley Pringle of Global Port, Don Trollano of Talk ‘N Text, Asi Taulava of NLEX, Poy Erram of Blackwater and Gilas Cadets Kobe Paras and Ricci Rivero – were in attendance.

 

Only San Miguel Beer’ contribution to Guiao’s selection, Christian Stanhardinger, wasn’t around, attending the Beermen’s preparation for their on-going best-of-seven series in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup, now in Game 5.

 

Another Cadet member, Abu Tratter, filled the void in Stanhardinger’s absence by joining the light, but, inspired workout scheduled for the day that satisfied Guiao, assistant coach Coy Garcia, ROS owner Yu PBA Board of Governors member, Atty, Mamerto Mondragon, and PBA Commissioner Willie Marcial, among others.     

 

Before practice began, Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) president Ricky Vargas, Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) president Al Panlilio, Yu and Guiao spoke to the team in a closed-door meeting.

 

The squad will leave for Jakarta on August 14 before plunging to action on August 16.  

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