FOSHAN, China – Robert Bolick does not count out Gilas Pilipinas staging a massive upset against Serbia in the FIBA World Cup as they plan to redeem themselves from an embarrassing 46-point loss to Italy.
The Philippines seeks to pull off the improbable when it tangles with tournament favorite and world No. 4 Serbia in Group D at the GBA International Sports and Cultural Center here on Monday, September 2.
"For me, no," Bolick told Filipino reporters when asked if their blowout loss to Italy has changed their approach against Serbia. "This is it. Serbia is one of the best so why not take them down?"
Serbia, though, is coming off a 46-point win of its own after manhandling Angola in its World Cup opening bid.
In fact, Serbia has won 12 straight games since its last campaign and doesn't look to have its streak snapped anytime soon with a bevy of NBA players in Nikola Jokic, Bogdan Bogdanovic, Boban Marjanovic, and Nemanja Bjelica.
Bolick remains defiant still.
"Anything can happen. As long as you play with heart, everybody can make an upset. We won't come here having already accepted that we'll lose or we just need to make it close. No, we're looking to win."
After committing 23 turnovers and shooting a paltry 3-of-23 from three-point land against Italy, Bolick believes the Philippines still has not shown its true form.
"This is for our country, once in a lifetime experience, we have to go out and play better. We know we can play on a higher level than we did before," Bolick added in a mix of Filipino and English.
"I think we will shock [Serbia] a little bit. We'll play with heart. Whoever coach Yeng [Guiao] fields in, we just got to be ready and play our hearts out. This is for the country."
"A lot of Filipinos came here so we just got to show it to them that we're fighting no matter what even through we're really small. That's their advantage."
"But with heart and mind, and playing as a team, as a family, I think we have a slight edge in that department. We need to show up."
Gilas Pilipinas beating Serbia in the FIBA World Cup? Robert Bolick says "Why not?" #FIBAWC | @dioquinodelfin pic.twitter.com/LxMYMWwc2c — Rappler Sports (@RapplerSports) September 1, 2019
An added motivation for Bolick when they face Serbia is repaying the hard work their coaches put in for them.
"They spent hours and days trying to give us a good game plan and we did not execute. And then mostly people will say it's because of the coaches. No, it's us, the players," Bolick said.
"Our coaches deserve a good basketball game from us, win or lose. As long as we go out and play our hearts out, give our hundred percent, for sure our coaches will be happy." – Rappler.com
Delfin Dioquino dreamt of being a PBA player, but he did not have the skills to make it. So he pursued the next best thing to being an athlete – to write about them. He took up journalism at the University of Santo Tomas and joined Rappler as soon as he graduated in 2017.