MANILA, Philippines – Japeth Aguilar did not see any action when Gilas Pilipinas took on France to open their 2016 FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament campaign on Tuesday, July 5.
The 6-foot-9 forward was the only player not fielded in as the Philippines was defeated, 93-84.
Head coach Tab Baldwin explained his decision to sit Aguilar, even as the taller French players made life difficult for Gilas.
“It’s always what you get, what you give up. The decisions you make in terms of substitutions,” he said. “And we felt we wanted the offensive end of the floor covered. We really believed France had the ability to put points on the board. We felt from the very start it was going to be tough to keep their score down and we wanted to but we wanted to do it by scheming.
“We didn’t think our personnel could just go out there and head-to-head shut them down. We needed to scheme well. 93 points is too much. It’s tough to win international basketball games when you give up that much but we also needed to score.”
He went on to say that opting to give more minutes to Ranidel De Ocampo and Troy Rosario paid off in that De Ocampo was inside primarily as an offensive option while Rosario gave Gilas “a lot of extra possessions with his work on the boards.”
Despite problems with France’s size, Baldwin emphasized that it was the guards that truly dominated and hurt the Philippine team.
“So yes, we’re going to give something up but the real strength of the French team is their guards. And you see (Tony) Parker and (Nando) De Colo get 48 points between them at such a high percentage, that’s where we felt we had to take care of the mismatch situations that were going to arise,” he explained.
“So we were always going to give up something inside but we didn’t want to compromise too much of the offense moving forward.”
With the loss, Gilas is now in a must-win situation against New Zealand on Wednesday, July 6. – Rappler.com