GILAS Pilipinas is bracing for a tough time against longtime nemesis South Korea in the Fiba Asia Cup quarterfinals on Wednesday in Lebanon.
But as tough as the match is bound to be, winning is never far from reach.
Such was former Gilas skipper Jimmy Alapag's take on the thrilling quarterfinal match-up when asked by reporters before Meralco's practice on Tuesday.
And better believe the statements from someone who led Gilas to a dramatic win over its longtime rival in the 2013 Fiba Asia Championship in Manila to punch a ticket to the 2014 Fiba World Cup.
Alapag is confident that with the way Gilas has been playing, this rejigged crew led by familiar faces in Jayson Castro and Gabe Norwood will still come out victorious against Korea.
"That's the luxury of having veterans there like Jayson, Japeth, and Gabe, and even the other guys like Calvin (Abueva) and Terrence (Romeo); they've all been on this stage before so I'm confident theyll be ready," the Meralco deputy coach said.
When asked how to beat the Koreans, the former Gilas captain said the Filipinos have to give their counterparts a dose of their own medicine.
"When you think of Korea, it's their perimeter shooting. So it's gonna be important for us to try to limit their perimeter game kasi lahat sila can shoot from the outside, at the same time we have to make our shots as well," he said.
"Kasi in the past, Korea loves playing zone. And the only way to get them out of the zone is to make our shots."
That's exactly what Alapag did during that historic night at the Mall of Asia Arena two years ago.
But now that he's no longer playing for the squad, the 5-9 playmaker is leaving the daunting task to the young guns.
"I'm confident with the guys," he said. "We've all seen their performance so far. Kayang kaya nila. Hopefully their strong play continues on Wednesday."