Dec 01, 2018

Team Pilipinas shifts focus on Iran

DISAPPOINTING as it was, but Team Pilipinas has to move forward quickly following its stunning loss to Kazakhstan with a bigger job still awaiting it in the FIBA World Cup qualifiers.

Focus now shifts on the national team's coming game against Iran on Monday at the Mall of Asia Arena, with the host needing to win the 7 p.m. encounter to keep hold of its bid of earning a berth in next year's World Cup in China.

The Filipinos suffered a stinging 92-88 setback at the hands of the Kazakhs on Friday night, which badly hurt their campaign after falling to gain a tie for second place with the Iranians, and worse, fell into a tie with surging Japan at third place, both with 5-4 records.

But there's not enough time to ponder on what hit them against Kazakhstan as the nationals now turn their attention on the significant task ahead.

"We still have one game on Monday, and we can't feel too negative about ourselves," said coach Yeng Guiao.

Sponsored content:
"I think we can salvage the situation if we're able to play a good game against Iran."

Of course, there are lessons to be learned in the Kazakhstan game.

The national coach acknowledged being mismatched by the Kazakhs in terms of quickness with their big men.

There was also the consistent three-point shooting of the visiting Central Asian country led by Alexandr Zhigulin, who torched the Filipinos for 30 points, including six three pointers, and the 24 free throws the Kazakhs made out of their 34 attempts.

Besides, except for Beau Belga, Gabe Norwood, Poy Erram, and Stanley Pringle, the rest of the Team Pilipinas players were not with the squad that beat Kazakhstan, 96-59, in the last Asian Games in Jakarta.

Sponsored content:
"We're still a long way from being the team that we really want to be and be able to exploit our potentials," said Guiao.
Adjustments will definitely be made for the Iran game, with the national coach disclosing Christian Standhardinger replacing Pringle as the team's naturalized player, while long-time stalwarts Jayson Castro and Troy Rosario expected to be inserted back into the line-up after finally serving the three-game suspension meted on them by FIBA.

"We will lose Stanley's scoring, his aggressiveness, his leadership at the point guard position, but we will gain Christian's quickness and active plays which we lacked with our bigs," said Guiao.

"Troy Rosario and Jayson Castro are going to be in that line-up. I think there suspension is over. I'm sure they can make contributions in that effort." (RG)