FIBA OQT

Tim Cone rues lack of Gilas answers vs Brazil’s Marcelo Huertas

Rob Andrew Dongiapon

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Tim Cone rues lack of Gilas answers vs Brazil’s Marcelo Huertas

VETERAN. Marcelo Huertas in action for Brazil in the 2024 FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament.

FIBA

Former NBA player Marcelo Huertas takes over against Gilas Pilipinas in the fourth quarter as Brazil reaches the final of the FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament

MANILA, Philippines – For the first two games, Gilas PIlipinas packed the paint and looked like a team that could do no wrong defensively.

But when Brazil shifted to another gear, the Filipinos had no answer, especially against former NBA player Marcelo Huertas.

Following a second-half collapse, Gilas bowed out of the FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament (OQT) after a 71-60 defeat at the hands of Brazil in the semifinals, leaving head coach Tim Cone ruing about their lack of schematic answers against veteran Brazilian guard Huertas.

“Tonight, we were worried about Huertas. We were worried about his pull-up jump shot so we were trying to get under the screen to take (that) away,” said Cone of the former Los Angeles Laker guard. 

However, the 41-year-old Huertas proved to be too versed against Gilas’ defense, punishing the Filipinos with three pull-up jumpers in the fourth-quarter, which helped Brazil seal its ticket to the OQT finals.

“Huertas hit us hard, coming out of the ball screens and pulling up, doing nice things,” Cone said.

Huertas finished the game with 13 points and 7 assists as he orchestrated Brazil’s offense alongside fellow NBA player Bruno Caboclo, who had 15 points on 5-of-9 shooting to go 11 rebounds and 3 blocks.

Despite defensive efforts by Gilas guards Chris Newsome and Dwight Ramos, Brazil feasted on the advantages their ball screens made against the Filipinos.

Even Brazil’s Yago Santos, a 5-foot-10 guard, put up 8 points in just 13 minutes.

According to Cone, Brazil’s guards opened up multiple scoring options for the team, regardless of what defensive scheme Gilas tried.

“Their guards were really coming over screens tonight. And that’s their game. We knew coming in, we knew we’re going to have to be great on the high screens… and we weren’t,” Cone said.

After outscoring Brazil by 10 points in the first quarter, Gilas gradually lost control, allowing a 24-6 third-quarter that proved costly in its Olympic hopes. 

Cone also bared that new defensive schemes were set in place for the game, but things went south for the Filipinos after halftime.

“We put some new schemes in just for this game and we weren’t executing those schemes as well as we hoped. We gave up some layups and shots that, hopefully, we don’t give up all the time,” Cone said. 

Building on their OQT performance, Cone hopes a tactical lesson was learned in the loss. 

“We’re just trying to be really fundamentally sound and trying to stay solid in our schemes. That’s what we tried to do tonight, but they shot well.” – Rappler.com

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