Gilas Pilipinas will be at the crossroads of history tonight as it faces Kazakhstan in a bid for a seat in the tournament semifinals.
A Good Start
The Philippine team has played its biggest games when starting out strong. Wins against Japan and Qatar were fueled by strong starts. Tough games against KSA, Taipei, HK were all flat ones. We are the best 3rd quarter team in this tournament but a good start in every game next level.
Kazakhstan in my opinion has decent outside shooters and the most agile bigs in this tournament. Mikhail Yevstigneyev #7 is a bigger Noli Locsin with solid post moves and enjoys the physicality of the game (I would have compared him to Beau Belga but he really doesn’t have the outside shooting). Against China, they employed the drop pass pretty well having Jeremy Johnson as the bait. Though Johnson is rumored to be injured, it will only slow him down.
Stopping Johnson is key as they do not have better point options on the bench to distribute the ball well. Kazakhstan is a really good rebounding team even if they are against taller opponents. Japeth Aguilar and JunMar Fajardo should work harder in defense as Marcus Douthit is slowed down by a painful shin injury. The Philippine team has played its best defense in 2 of their convincing wins and it they should do so against this Kazakh team. Defense wins … Championships.
Expect the Kazakhs to clamp down on Jeff Chan tonight. LA Tenorio and Jimmy Alapag should break out of their mini-slump for us to have a better chance. Jayson Castro William, the hero of the pre-tournament encounter, will be checked pretty well as the other teams have figured that he doesn’t have a consistent outside shot. Gary David needs a big game tonight in order to stretch the defense some more. A big shooting night will disrupt all scouting reports when Gilas progress in the tournament
It has been proven that anyone can win this tournament. Rankings do not matter and is just a number. Gilas should know this as HK beat them to the pulp in the first two quarters of the last game. A good start, great defense, and consistent outside shooting will bring us to the semis. As Bob Guerrero pointed in his tweet: There are only 3 cheers u need to learn when supporting Gilas in #fibaasia2013 : “Laban Pilipinas”, “De-fense” and “GA-RY! GA-RY!”
PS. Wear White and Cheer (and Jeer) like there’s no tomorrow