With players like naturalized Andray Blatche, Terrence Romeo and Jayson Castro, Gilas Pilipinas mentor Tab Baldwin thinks that scoring will not be a problem for the national team that is preparing for the Olympic Qualifying Tournament (OQT) set July 5-10 at the Mall of Asia (MOA) Arena in Pasay City.
The national team showed offensive depth as the 6-foot-11 Blatche led Gilas in scoring with 20 points and 11 rebounds in an 81-70 win against Asian rival Iran in their tune up game recently.
Also scoring in double digit were Romeo, Ryan Reyes and Japeth Aguilar with 12 points apiece, while Ray Parks added 11 points.
The four, together with Blatche, are part of the 14-man roster that is in Greece holding training camp with Baldwin and will play tune up games Turkey and Italy in the next couple of weeks.
“I thought offensively we were more cohesive,” Baldwin said after the Iran game. “We’re getting closer to knowing who’s the right guy at the right spot at the right time. But that’s a growing issue for us.”
Other members of the national team training pool are LA Tenorio, Calvin Abueva, June Mar Fajardo, Marc Pingris, Ranidel de Ocampo, Troy Rosario, Gabe Norwood and Jeff Chan.
Baldwin will choose his final 12 from the 14 players for the OQT, where the Philippines is in Group B with France and New Zealand, while in Group A are Turkey, Canada and Senegal.
The national team coach said that while they have depth in scoring, they have to improve their ball movement especially when teams play zone defense, which Iran did late in the third quarter and the entire fourth period that allowed them to rally back from a 23-point deficit.
“Our weakness against the zone defense and our inability to adapt quickly really demonstrates that we need more time together, we need more games,” said Baldwin as the national team will play three exhibition games – one in Turkey and two in Italy.
“We’re going to look at every aspect of our system. Iran got transition baskets mostly off a few turnovers that we made.”
“Most of our half court offensive action (leading) to transition defense was ok. But the out long rebound, the turnover, they (Iran) converted very well. We don’t want those,” Baldwin said.
Aside from that, Baldwin said he also wants to see the national team battle for what he calls “easy points”.
“One of my coaching philosophies is win the easy point battle – so we want to win the offensive rebounds, transition baskets and free throw battle, which we did not do with Iran,” he added.