by Waylon Galvez
Gilas Pilipinas coach Yeng Guiao believes beating Angola in the FIBA World Cup in China remains in the realm of reality. Getting past Serbia and Italy may require some divine intervention though.
“We have to come in to the competition believing that we can win games,” said Guiao Sunday.
“We’re ranked ahead of Angola but they are big and athletic. Even with that, I think that’s our best chance of winning. But against Italy and Serbia, it will take a miracle… and I believe in miracles.”
The national team in in Group D and will play Italy on August 31. Serbia is next on September 2 and Angola last on September 4.
Serbia is ranked 4th in the latest FIBA ratings. Italy is at 13th with the Philippines at 31st and Angola at 39th. Senegal, the team PH beat in the 2014 World Cup in Spain, is ranked 37th.
The top two teams will earn slots in the second round. If Gilas advances to the next stage, it will be bracketed in Group L alongside the top two teams from Group G which has Dominican Republic, France, Germany and Jordan.
Preparation remains the key for Guiao.
“Just like what I’ve said before, two to three months is still the best for us… and then let’s bring in Andray Blatche early; he’ll be available, I think, by April,” Guiao said. “And if Jordan Clarkson can play as a local, then that’s a big bonus for us.”