By Waylon Galvez
The way Gilas Pilipinas performed in its close victories against Japan and Chinese Taipei at the start of the World Cup Asian qualifiers, the national team would need to do a better job preparing for its match versus Australia early next year.
Manny V. Pangilinan, chairman emeritus of the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP), said that the national team should be given ample time to prepare against the Aussies and not just three weeks like what Gilas had to do with for its matches against Japan and Taipei.
“If we’re going to get serious about competing against Australia, we have to give enough time for the team to jell,” said Pangilinan Monday night as the Philippines rallied to beat Taipei, 90-83, at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
“Frankly, I thought they were a bit rusty in Tokyo, and you saw tonight (against Taipei). We won’t get that kind of chance (to regroup against Australia). The team needs – I don’t know I’m not the coach – I would like to think some months to prepare for the competition. Otherwise, our chances are not good,” added Pangilinan.
Like its game against Taipei, the national team struggled versus Japan before it escaped with a 77-71 victory in Tokyo last Friday.
Gilas PH and Australia sport identical 2-0 cards in Group B after the first round of preliminary action in the qualifiers, while Taipei and Japan carry similar 0-2 records. Australia will host the Philippines on Feb. 22 before the national team takes on Japan anew on Feb. 25 at the Mall of Asia Arena.
Despite the struggles, Pangilinan, SBP founding president from 2007 to 2016 when he stepped down and accepted the post of chairman emeritus, said he was pleased with the results.
“Given the circumstances under which the team was formed, of course I’m very proud of the team,” he said. “I’m very happy for them.”
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