Guiao: Gilas needs to go beyond size upgrade
MANILA, Philippines – Gilas Pilipinas will parade its tallest frontcourt in the World Cup qualifiers, but for head coach Yeng Guiao, size alone is not enough to win games.
Guiao highlighted the need for Gilas to raise its level of play heading into the fifth window of the World Cup qualifiers despite the upgrade in height with June Mar Fajardo, Greg Slaughter and Japeth Aguilar in the fold.
The 3 PBA giants could form a formidable version of a "Triple Tower" while Poy Erram, who is also included in the Nationals' 12-man lineup against Kazakhstan, could provide a steady inside presence.
But according to Guiao, there has to be much more than size to beat teams with equally big players.
"We have the size, definitely, with this team but what we're trying to do also is maximize not just the size but some quickness with it because these guys are going to play with guys who might be bigger than they are," he said during an episode of Rappler Talk.
"Nakikita natin sila na malaki sila (We see that our guys are big) but when they play internationally, the guys are even bigger than they are, and they are even more athletic than they are."
"Kasi sa PBA, iilan lang silang malaki e. Pagdating mo sa international, everybody is big and good so you have to raise the level of your game to be able to cope up or to be able to really help your team."
(In the PBA, there are only a few towering big men. But when it comes to the international scene, everybody is big and good so you have to raise the level of your game to be able to cope up and help the team.)
Gilas takes on Kazakhstan at 7:30 pm on Friday, November 30, at the Mall of Asia Arena. (LIVE UPDATES: Philippines vs Kazakhstan - 2019 FIBA World Cup Asian Qualifiers)
In a string of tuneup games last week against Jordan and Lebanon – teams with agile big men who can also shoot from the outside – the Philippines had trouble pulling off wins.
Team Pilipinas dropped 3 of its 4 friendly contests, hacking out only one win against Jordan in a game that was abruptly ended in the middle of the 4th quarter following a verbal spat between rival coaches.
Heading into their battles against Kazakhstan and Iran on November 30 and December 3, respectively, Guiao expects his big men to face an acid test.
"That's the challenge being posed to these guys – yes, you're big, but when you play somebody as big as you are, maybe even bigger, who's stronger and quicker, then you have to work a little harder."
A win against both Kazakhstan and Iran will bolster the Philippines' chances of making it into the World Cup.
Only the top 3 teams from Groups E and F are assured of a World Cup berth. Gilas currently sits at 3rd place in Group F with a 5-3 record. – Rappler.com