NATIONAL coach Yeng Guiao is wary of Kazakhstan’s gunners as Team Pilipinas prepares to take on the visitors on Friday in the ffith window of the Fiba Basketball World Cup Asian qualifiers.
After days of viewing videos of previous Kazakhstan games in preparation for Friday’s match at the Mall of Asia Arena, Guiao is convinced Team Pilipinas will have its hands full if the Kazakhs will hit their outside shots.
“We will be in trouble if their three-point shooting is on target,” Guiao said. “’Yun ang pinakamalaking worry ko. We must defend their three-point shots because their guards are deadly shooters. If you give them a small window, they can shoot.”
Team Pilipinas beat Kazakhstan, 96-59, during the Asian Games preliminaries last September in Jakarta, but Guiao expects Friday’s match to be an entirely different ballgame.
“Tinalo natin sila sa Asian Games because we played suffocating defense. Kung hindi natin mauulit ‘yun, tayo ang masu-suffocate pag ganun ang nangyari,” said Guiao.
Guiao said the Kazakhstan game on Friday and the rematch against Iran on Monday will be crucial to Gilas’ bid for a slot in the 2019 Fiba Basketball World Cup.
Currently, the Philippines is in third place in Group F with a 5-3 record. The top three teams in two groups as well as the best fourth-placer will advance to the World Cup to be held next year in China.
“This is an important point during our campaign. These are the games that will really matter. Ito ‘yung mga importanteng laro na we will be judged, will be defined by the games that will be played the next few days,” he said.