NATIONAL head coach Yeng Guiao has a clear battle plan for the away match against Iran: keep the game close and steal a win in the end.
Guiao said he is under no illusion that the Philippines can build a good lead over Iran before hostile fans during their Fiba Basketball World Cup Asian qualifier on Thursday in Tehran.
“Ako I just want it to be a close match,” Guiao said. “I just want it to be tight toward the end against a home crowd, against playing in their home court. Mahirap mag-ambisyon na we get a good lead towards the end against Iran in their home court.”
Guiao believes Team Pilipinas is capable of stealing the win if it succeeds in keeping the match against Iran close until the final minutes.
“’Wag lang tayo maiwan. Mailaban lang natin hanggang sa huli, okay na ako doon. Baka may tsamba doon,” said Guiao.
The Philippines travelled to Iran on Monday for its final preparation against a Hamed Haddadi-led side that is fresh from winning the silver medal in the Asian Games where the Philippines placed fifth.
“We are about 80, 85 percent (ready). The next two days, we are putting in place our defensive schemes. We are about 85 percent,” said Guiao.
Guiao admitted the preparations for the Fiba Basketball World Cup are far from ideal, just like in the Asian Games, but added that is no excuse.
“Halos pareho rin kasi ganito rin ‘yung situation namin noon. Kaya lang noon, nakabuti sa amin na we were in Jakarta early. We had a few days there. Now, we will practically have one-and-a-half days in between getting there and the game itself. Nung nagpunta kami Jakarta, may apat na araw pa ata kami doon.
“Actually, mas gahol sa panahon ngayon eh kasi nga na-aggravate pa nung injury kay Greg (Slaughter) at hinihintay natin ‘yung status niya. The usual problem, pero sanay na tayo. Hindi na natin gagawing excuse ‘yun.
"Pagdating ng laro, it’s either we win or lose on the credit of this national team that we have on their effort and on the preparation. I don’t think na it’s proper to make excuses after that,” said Guiao.