TEAM Pilipinas coach Yeng Guiao believes the match against Angola is the most realistic chance for the national squad to pull off a victory in the Fiba Basketball World Cup, but he made it clear the task won't be an easy one.
Guiao said it will take a “miracle” for the Philippines to clinch a victory in the World Cup, after the nationals were slotted with powerhouse squads in Serbia, Italy, and Angola in Group D at the end of the draw on Saturday night.
If there is a chance for Team Pilipinas to pull off an upset in the quadrennial showpiece, it will be against Angola, Guiao said.
“Angola is a tough team. Looking at them after I knew who our groupmates were, medyo ni-research ko na. Angola is a strong team. ‘Yun lang ang masasabi natin na puwedeng realistically na ma-upset siguro,” said Guiao.
Angola has won the African title 11 times, but has shown signs of slipping after finishing in seventh place in 2017. The team finished 17th in the last Fiba World Cup in 2014.
Guiao made it clear it will take the very best of Team Pilipinas to beat Angola.
“Makikipagbasagan tayo ng itlog doon para manalo lang. That’s how hard it’s going to be,” said Guiao.
Yeng doesn't expect anything less in Group D games against Serbia and Italy, but said it's the same across the board.
“’Yung Italy at ‘yung Serbia, looking at their NBA players, if those guys are going to play, mahihirapan talaga tayo,” said Guiao.
“Looking at the other groupings, siguro ‘yung China, being the host, ‘yung magaan-gaan ‘yung groupings. That’s understandable. I was looking at the other Asian countries, mabigat din talaga.
"I’m not going to say this is the group of death, pero sabi ko nga, overwhelming underdogs tayo. Maybe this is the group of near death. Nandoon lang sa gilid gilid,” said Guiao.
Despite the overwhelming odds, Guiao believes picking up a win is doable with the right preparation.
“Against Italy and Serbia, it will almost take a miracle to beat those teams. But the good thing is I believe in miracles. Naniniwala ako na puwedeng mag-milagro. Kailangan mo rin maghanda para mangyari ‘yung milagro,” Guiao said.