DUBAI - Deficient in size and length, the Philippines is aiming to pull off surprises through speed in the Fiba U17 World Championship.
Grouped with two-time champion United States, Angola and Greece in the 16-nation tournament, Batang Gilas head coach Jamike jarin admitted the Filipinos are vulnerable in the paint once these teams opt to hammer them inside.
"We need to run. Against tall teams, we really don't want to see them play in a slow set game,'' said Jarin ahead of the team's debut against Angola on Friday.
With an average ceiling of six feet, Batang Gilas will lean heavily on brothers Mike and Matt Nieto of Ateneo, Richard Escoto of Far Eastern University, Jolo Mendoza of Ateneo and Paul Desiderio of University of the Philippines.
They have a support crew of energetic players in Mikel Panlilio of International School Manila, Diego Dario of UP, Mike Dela Cruz of La Salle Greenhills, Enzo Navarro of San Sebastian, Carlo Abadeza of Arellano University, Arnie Padilla of FEU and Jollo Go of Hope Christian High School.
"We stand no chance against their size and length. We need to slow them down by picking them up 60 to 90 feet from the basket because we will encounter problems once they settle at the frontcourt,'' said Jarin.
For them to win, Jarin explained that Mendoza should shoot the lights out, Matt Nieto must control the game, Desiderio must provide the intangibles and Mike Nieto will have to do all the dirty work.
Filipino workers here are expected to troop to the Al Ahli Arena every game and throw their support behind Batang Gilas, which made it to the worlds after a second-place performance in last year's Fiba Asia Championship.
"We need to be efficient and play a fast-paced offense. If it's a three against three, we're not going to set. If it's a four on four, we're still not going to set up,'' said Jarin.
"The only time we set if it's a five on five. As much as possible, I'd like to limit the game to a two on two, three on three and four on four.''
After challenging Angola, the Filipinos take on the Greeks on Saturday before going on a one-day break.
They tackle the United States on Monday and advance to the second round where they could meet Australia, Canada, France or Japan in a crossover make-or-break affair.