Guiao 'not giving up' on Gilas' World Cup chances
MANILA, Philippines – Yeng Guiao remained unfazed of Gilas Pilipinas' chances of reaching the 2019 FIBA World Cup even after a stunning home defeat to Kazakhstan in the fifth window of the Asian Qualifiers.
The firebrand mentor acknowledged that there will be more pressure now to win games as the Philippines fell to a share of 3rd place with the red-hot Japan in Group F behind identical 5-4 records.
After barely making it through the second round of the qualifiers with a poor 2-4 slate, the Japanese have now won 4 straight games and could overtake the Filipinos for solo 3rd if they repeat over Kazakhstan.
Only the top 3 teams from Groups E and F will advance to the World Cup.
Thus, Team Pilipinas must now topple Iran when they meet for the second time at the Mall of Asia Arena on Monday, December 3. That, though, is a tall order considering the Iranians beat the Filipinos in September.
"There's more pressure on us now to win against Iran so kailangan tayo manalo sa Iran on Monday. That's part of the process that we have to undertake," Guiao said after Gilas' 88-92 loss to Kazakhstan on Friday.
(There's more pressure on us now to win against Iran so we need to beat them on Monday. That's part of the process that we have to undertake.)
"Ako naman, I'm not giving up on our chances, actually hinahabol pa din naman tayo ng Japan."
(If you ask me, I'm not giving up on our chances because Japan is still catching up with us.)
The Filipinos were expected to handily defeat the visitors, especially since they crushed the Kazakhs by 37 points in the 2018 Asian Games in August.
But Kazakhstan proved to have prepared for the Philippines better this time to notch its first win in the World Cup qualifiers since February.
Guiao, though, would rather focus on their next assignment instead of dwelling on the tough loss.
"We talked about our lessons that we learned today but we cannot carry that baggage hanggang Monday, lalo lang tayong mahihirapan," he added.
(We talked about our lessons that we learned today but we cannot carry that baggage until Monday, that would make things more difficult for us.) – Rappler.com