MANILA, Philippines – Gilas Pilipinas head coach Yeng Guiao is not letting his guard down against a Kazakhstan team that the Philippine men’s basketball team trounced by 37 points in the 2018 Asian Games.
“When we play them on the 30th [of November], they’ll be more ready and more determined,” Guiao said during an episode of Rappler Talk days before Gilas kicks off its bid in the fifth window of the 2019 FIBA World Cup Asian Qualifiers.
“That’s going to be a harder game. I don’t think we’re going to beat them as big a margin as we did when we beat them in the Asian Games.”
Even without Filipino-American NBA player Jordan Clarkson, Gilas opened its Asiad campaign with a 96-59 win over the Central Asians thanks to Stanley Pringle’s early outburst.
According to Guiao, even if there are only minor changes to Kazakhstan’s lineup, the stakes are entirely different.
“We surprised them in the Asian Games but now, they’ve scouted us,” warned Guiao.
“This team has height. They’re very rugged and they have really good shooters. They just had a bad night when we played them in the Asian Games.”
In the Asian Games, Kazakhstan was booted out of playoff contention after dropping both their games in the group stage.
The Central Asians advanced to the second round after placing second behind Iran, but are now on the verge of falling out of World Cup contention as they place 5th in Group F.
As Kazakhstan faces a must-win situation, the Philippines also needs two wins in the fifth window to solidify its hold of 3rd place in the group and qualify for the 2019 FIBA World Cup in China. – Rappler.com