Singapore coach says tough Gilas Pilipinas squad benefits SEA region

MANILA, Philippines – Although his team got pummeled, Singapore's Australian coach Franco Arsego is appreciative of the upside of having a higher caliber team like Gilas Pilipinas to compete against in the Southeast Asian region.

"It's great to have a team like that in our region, so that all nations can continue to develop," he told reporters after Singapore fell, 113-66, against the Philippines.

"The better the competition, the better the players become and I think that showed tonight. That was an example of what can happen when you play the better teams, you have to learn how to handle it."

Singapore fared better than Myanmar against Gilas, executing its set plays, showing aggressiveness on the defensive end, and making some outside shots.

Arsego, who said his team is in transition under his system, was happy they achieved their targets for Day 2 of the 2017 SEABA Men's Championship. He is steering Singapore into constant progression and sustaining improvement, and their play against Gilas was a step in the right direction.

Looking at the Philippines, Arsego is optimistic it could make it to the second round of the Asian Qualifiers, should Gilas win this SEABA tournament and qualify. The region's slot is grouped with powerhouse Australia, along with Japan and Taiwan.

"I just love the team that coach Reyes has put together. It has youth, it has balance, it has size, great 3-point shooting. It's a great team," he said.

"I really look forward to seeing them play at the qualifiers. I think they potentially can be one of the teams to move through in their grouping. I'm not quite sure how it pans out after that, but yeah, I wish them all the best."

Singapore will next face Malaysia on Monday, May 15. – Rappler.com