Dec 02, 2018

Guiao shuffles back to the wall Nationals for game vs. Iran

Gilas Pilipinas shuffled its lineup in hope of getting the right balance that could well give the team a good shot at redemption against Iran and a boost in its drive in the closing games of the FIBA World Cup qualifiers.

For their second game in the fifth window of the FIBAWC eliminator, the Nationals seek to get back at the Iranians in their 7:30 p.m. tussle Monday at the MOA Arena in Pasay City.

With a deflating 88-92 loss to Kazakhstan Friday at the same playing venue, coach Yeng Guiao has tweaked his lineup in pursuit of a desired result against the Iranians that dealt them a 73-81 beating in their previous match over in Tehran in September.

Christian Standhardinger, Jayson Castro, Troy Rosario and Arwind Santos are coming on board to take over from Greg Slaughter, Poy Erram, Alex Cabagnot and Stanley Pringle.

Staying in the mix are Japeth Aguilar, Beau Belga, June Mar Fajardo, Marcio Lassiter, Gabe Norwood, LA Tenorio, Scottie Thompson and Matthew Wright.

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In this group, Guiao hopes to have formed a team that could make a turnaround from their loss to the Kazakhs and pump back life on their bid to make the grade for the World Cup in China next year.

In particular, Guiao hopes to get the quickness that they lacked in their game against Kazakhstan.

"Our quickness requirement has been filled up, but we have to sacrifice now our size," said Guiao.

Guiao formed a tall team against Kazakhstan with a lineup including Fajardo, Slaughter, Aguilar and Erram but suffered in their lack of quickness against the agile, sweet-shooting big men of the Kazakhs.

"That's what I've been saying, the tallest lineup doesn't necessarily mean the strongest lineup. There is a speed factor, a quickness factor that we need to consider because the big men that we'll face are big and they're quick and strong. If you're just big, it will not suffice. You have to be able to combine the size and the speed to match up," Guiao pointed out.

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Against Iran, the Nationals will again face tall players that are quick with their size.

Gilas Pilipinas will have less problem, though, if Iran continues to play minus Hamed Haddadi and Nikkhah Bahrami as they did in their 47-76 loss to Australia in Melbourne Friday.

It would be remembered, however, that though Haddadi played just the closing minute of the game in the Phl-Iran match last September, the Iranians came through with the crucial win.

Team Phl's defense also broke down in the crunch, and the home team pounded the opportunity to open a double-digit spread at 77-66 before eventually nailing the win.

Minus Fajardo and Slaughter, Standhardinger gallantly held his own against the Iran giants, scattering a game-high 30 points, but the rest of the team threw bricks.

Three-point shooting proved to be the big difference in Iran's fourth-quarter breakaway.

Held to only four three-pointers through the first 30 minutes of play, the Iranians struck with three dagger triples to highlight their decisive surge from a 63-61 count.

The Filipinos, meanwhile, just couldn't find the target in the fourth quarter.

The home crowd, however, is expected to boost the Nationals in this rematch.(SB)