COACH Jamike Jarin is very realistic about the Philippines’ chances of beating powerhouse United States in the Fiba Under-17 World Championship in Dubai next month that he believes beating the mighty Americans will take outside forces to pull off.
“Siguro lalasunin na lang namin (sila) the night before,” said Jarin when he appeared in the Philippine Sportswriters Association (PSA) Forum on Tuesday at Shakey’s Malate. “Hopefully, magkasakit nga sila.”
Of course, Jarin said everything in jest, but his words best captured the odds the country faces when it tries to advance to the next round of the world basketball competition set August 8 to 16.
The Philippines is drawn in Group A with the US, Greece, and Angola, three powerhouse countries in world basketball.
But instead of sulking about the tough prospect awaiting the PH youth team, Jarin is looking at the positives as he sees a perfect opportunity for members of his team to play against NBA-caliber talent.
“We really wished that we be bracketed with Team USA. You want to test kung nasaan ka rin especially for these boys. You also want to see the level of play ng USA against the future LeBron James or the future Kevin Durant. It’s a great opportunity especially for the young boys,” Jarin said.
Following the draw, the national coach had a general assessment of the three teams based on statistics and videos online.
Jarin, also an assistant coach of Talk `N Text in the PBA, said the youth team dubbed as ‘Batang Gilas’ will be taking on a US squad that has players ready to play in the NBA had the league not prohibited cagers from joining the draft straight out of high school.
The Filipino youth coach mentioned Malik Newman as one of the players to watch after he won the MVP award in the Fiba-Americas Under-16 Championship last year.
“You can look at YouTube videos and search for Malik Newman. He is a seven-footer. He is NBA-bound already. If there is no rule on high school players going to the NBA early, he will be in the NBA next year,” Jarin said.
The US, which the Philippines faces on August 11, won’t be the only team that has NBA-caliber players.
Greece will also parade a seven-footer who can shoot from the outside. “He is already NBA-bound,” said Jarin, whose team will meet the Greeks on August 9.
Angola, its first opponent on August 8, is also formidable, Jarin said.
“It’s a young team, tall, and very athletic. But they shoot 17 percent lang (from three-point range),” noted Jarin.