NATIONAL coach Yeng Guiao expects Kazakhstan to be similar to Australia as the two clash in the first game of the Asian Games men’s basketball competition on Thursday at the GBK Basketball Hall in Jakarta.
The Nationals will be facing Kazakhstan on August 16 in a virtual must-win match as both teams will face Asian basketball superpower China in their next assignment. Two out of three teams from Group D will advance to the quarterfinals.
Guiao said he already has an idea on what Kazakhstan’s squad is, and the Asiad national coach expects them to play like Australia, a physical squad which recently was involved in a brawl against Gilas Pilipinas in the Fiba World Cup Asian qualifiers.
“They are a rugged, tough team. They are physically tough and strong. They have three-point shooters. Their bigs can shoot threes. Their guards can shoot threes. They are very rugged and physical kaya dapat huwag kang mapipikon,” said Guiao.
“Ganun lang talaga ‘yung style nila. Siguro malapit sila sa style ng Australia,” Guiao said.
The Philippines and Kazakhstan have constantly met each other in past Asian competitions including in the 2014 Asian Games when Gilas won, 67-65, after scoring an own goal in a bid to reach the required winning margin in order to advance into the next phase.
Guiao said Kazakhstan has had a reputation of being hard-nosed players in previous Asian competitions, so the Philippines must match their intensity.
“They are fundamentally sound, so you’re always in danger of being outworked kasi blue-collar players sila. They’re just working hard for every possession, they work hard for the rebounds, for the loose balls. So you can’t be outworked by them,” said Guiao.
As to their chances against Kazakhstan, Guiao said: “It’s going to be 50-50 at this point.”
“Based on our experience previously with Kazakhstan, it’s always been a close game with them. Parating dikit sa Fiba Asia at sa Asian Games. So we are expecting a dogfight with them.
“Dogfight ha, not fight,” said Guiao in jest.