FORMER PBA import Hamady N’Diaye of Senegal still considers Gilas Pilipinas a force in the Fiba Olympic Qualifying Tournament despite opening its campaign with a loss against powerhouse France.
N’Diaye, who once suited up for Mahindra in the PBA last year, pointed to the fight shown by Gilas in their close loss to Les Bleus, 93-84, on Tuesday at the Mall of Asia Arena.
“I think the Philippines played really well last night,” N’Diaye said in a media availability session on Wednesday. “They started really well and things can go wrong. They just have to make adjustments.”
N’Diaye is included in the line-up of Senegal, which lost to the Philippines in the 2014 Fiba World Cup. The two teams could collide once again if both teams advance to the playoff round. And the Senegalese forward has no doubt Gilas, which banners a new lineup that was met with some criticism, will be able to make the proper adjustments after their loss to France to make it to the semis.
“They had a pretty tough team when we were in Spain. They probably made adjustments with the new players just like we did. There are certain things that you have to do in your first game,” said N’Diaye.
Senegal opens its campaign on Wednesday against Canada, which won in the opener over Turkey to move a victory away from sweeping Group A and a berth in the semifinal round. Despite drawing a first-day bye, N’Diaye hopes for the best against a tough Canadian side that has NBA players Cory Joseph and Tristan Thompson.
“It’s just how you finish the game and handle controversy, just like what we have to deal with tonight and tomorrow,” said N’Diaye.