JULIO Lamas is aware Japan is in a precarious situation as it battles Gilas Pilipinas in the second window of the FIBA World Cup qualifiers on Sunday.
But things could change for the embattled Japanese especially if they manage to get past the Filipinos in their second encounter in this home-and-away tournament that determines the seven berths reserved for Asia in next year’s world meet in China.
So far, the Japanese remain as the only winless team in Group B at 0-3 going to their 7:30 p.m. encounter at the Mall of Asia Arena.
“We are in an uncomfortable situation now, there’s only six games (in the first round),” said Lamas, the 53-year-old veteran coach from Argentina, as the Japanese sweat it out for an hour Saturday night at the spanking arena in Pasay City.
“But one game can change a lot the situation for us.”
Gilas beat Japan, 77-71, at the start of the qualifier in Yokohama last November.
Lamas, the coach of the Argentina team which Gilas played against during the 2014 Fiba World Cup in Spain, knows it would even be tougher scoring an upset against the Filipinos with the hometown crowd expected to come out and support them.
It’s the reason why he said, the Japanese should be at their best to pull it off.
“We respect the Philippines, and we know it’s a tough game for us,” said Lamas. “For us (to win), we need to play our (best) basketball.”
It’s important too, for his team to be mentally prepared, especially in the aftermath of its 70-69 loss to Chinese Taipei last Thursday at home in a game it controlled for the most part.
“When you win, your confidence and spirit go high, but when you lose, it goes down,” he said.
“It’s very important now for us to have a good mentality to play good tomorrow (tonight) night.”