by Jonas Terrado
Coach Yeng Guiao said coping with the physicality of the international game is something Gilas Pilipinas needs to iron out as it enters the final stage of preparation for the fifth window of the FIBA World Cup Qualifiers which begins this week.
Adjustments were evident as far as Guiao is concerned after Gilas got into heated exchanges against Jordan and Lebanon in their three tune-up games held ahead of the crucial stage of the qualifiers.
Gilas was playing Lebanon last night at the Meralco gym in the final game of the exhibition series. The Philippines host Kazakhstan on Nov. 30 and Iran on Dec. 3 at the Mall of Asia Arena.
“We still need a few games to get used to the physicality,” Guiao said. “We couldn’t execute, we keep losing our timing and we keep losing our rhythm pag binabangga-bangga na tayo. We’re actually waiting for the referees to bail us out but it does not happen in the international game or style.
“We have less than a week before we play Kazakhstan and I’m hoping that the time is enough for us to get used to the different brand of game. It’s physicality in the PBA is difference from the physicality of the international game,” added Guiao.
The big guns for the fifth window which could determine whether Gilas can secure qualification to the 2019 World Cup in China.
The Philippines is currently third in Group F with a 5-3 record, trailing leader Australia (7-1) and Iran (6-2) and ahead of closest pursuer Japan (4-4).
Kazakhstan is in fourth at 3-5 while Qatar is at the bottom of the group at 2-6.
The top three teams in two Asian groups and the best fourth place squad qualify for the World Cup.