Gilas' defense key against Chinese Taipei
MANILA, Philippines - It's win or go home for the Smart-Gilas Pilipinas in the 4th FIBA Asia Cup.
The quarterfinals of the tournament formerly known as Stankovic Cup start Thursday, September 20, 2012, and the Philippine team will face Chinese-Taipei in a knockout game 2PM at Tokyo, Japan (1PM in the Philippines).
Philippine national team head coach Chot Reyes was a bit thrown off after being informed that their game was moved from 7PM to 2PM --both Tokyo, Japan times -- but the 5-time PBA coach of the year said they will "adapt and adjust."
These 2 squads recently met in the 34th William Jones Cup where Gilas 2.0 won by a slim margin, 76-72. The Philippines has not lost a single game to Chinese Taipei in the last 3 years.
In FIBA Asia Cup, Chinese Taipei averages 85.5 points. Their top performers are forward Lei Tien and center Wen-Ting Tseng who score 14.8 and 12. 8 points per game respectively. As a team, the Taiwanese like to do their damage by moving around and finding open shots from the outside.
Tien is the hero in their game against Qatar throwing down a buzzer-beater dunk to give his team the victory.
Finishing the preliminary stage with a 3-1 record, Gilas has several positives that they can build on.
Defense wins championships and this Reyes-led squad is playing relentlessly on that end of the floor. They have clamped down in the shaded area limiting their opposition to only 16.5 points per game in the paint.
To win, they need to extend their pesky defense to the perimeter and close out on the Taiwanese shooters to limit their production.
The Philippine team is also averaging 6.75 steals a game in the tourney. They've been able to generate 18 points per game off turnovers and that's something they need to continue doing to keep their hopes alive of finishing with a medal.
The Gilas boys are also doing a great job sharing the rock. Half of the baskets they score each game have come from unselfish plays which has them averaging 20 assists per game.
In their first 2 games against China and Lebanon, Gilas shot a horrendous 17% (8/48) clip from rainbow country.
Gilas found their stroke in their blowout victories over Uzbekistan and Macau shooting 40% (17/42) from downtown. Overall, Chinese Taipei still shot better from 3-point land averaging 37.62% so far against Gilas' 27.78%.
The Philippine national team needs to continue their steady shooting if they want to avoid getting knocked out early.
Road to FIBA Asia gold
If Gilas survives Chinese Taipei, they will face the winner of quarterfinal match between Uzbekistan and Iran in the semifinals.
The other match-ups for 2 more semifinal slots are Lebanon vs. Qatar and Japan vs. China.
The semifinals and finals of the 4th FIBA Asia Cup are scheduled to be played on September 21 and 22, respectively. - Rappler.com