MANILA, Philippines – "We will try to not let them get in the game.”
France national team coach Vincent Collet wasn’t only referring to the Philippine national team on the eve of their match in the FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament, but the crowd as well.
Collet and his lieutenants got a firsthand glimpse of the loud Gilas Pilipinas fans when they scouted the Philippines in their tune-up match against Turkey last Friday, June 1.
"We know it is the first game of the competition,” added Collet, who has been at the helm of Les Bleus for 7 years now.
"We know the expectations of the (hometown) fans and what it means to play against France. We have several NBA players in our roster so there is an interest in them. I think the atmosphere is going to be something amazing. It will be one part of the game. The Philippines is a very good team. They have very good players.
"I have fear that they will play at an unbelievable level with the home crowd support.”
Gilas supporters are among the most passionate of any national team in the world, and earned international recognition at the 2014 FIBA World Cup when the Philippines was awarded as having the "Most Valuable Fans."