BATANG Gilas coach Mike Oliver sees a lot of room for improvement for the national youth team after games against powerhouse college teams in their buildup for the 2017 Seaba Under-16 Championship.
While he acknowledged that games against varsity squad are a learning experience, Oliver said he wants to see more fight from the Batang Gilas cagers when playing against older opponents such as La Salle, which beat the youth team twice in lopsided fashion.
“No matter what happens, we have to stick to the system,” said Oliver. “Unfortunately, we are playing a college team and a defending champion (La Salle), nawala na tayo sa system. The reason bakit tayo sumali is to develop our system.”
Oliver cited the first game against La Salle, where he said the youngsters looked in awe of Ben Mbala.
“Sabi nga namin sa kanila, even sa mga bigs natin, we cannot allow our opponents to dunk on us easily. ‘Yung makakalaban natin sa Fiba Asia kung sakali, other countries, mas malaki pa kay Mbala.
"Kung ganyan ang attitude natin na it’s okay lang for us to be dunked on, mahirap ‘yun. Kinakailangan gawin natin ng paraan para hindi siya makabuwelo,” said Oliver.
Oliver though is staying patient, saying Batang Gilas will continue to grow tougher while playing against top college teams.
“Every game is a learning experience for us. We are playing against much older (players) than us, and, at the same time, mas organized na ‘yung team nila. Tayo naman, we formed the team one-and-a-half months. Kung makikita natin, hindi pa solid ‘yung samahan nila.
"We are still trying to develop it (system),” said Oliver.