THE Philippine Youth team is going to the knockout stage of the Fiba Asia U16 Championship with its morale high following its huge come-from-behind 78-72 win over China at the end of the preliminary round Tuesday night,
But that doesn’t mean the Batang Gilas is about to take Japan for granted in Thursday's quarterfinal match at the Britama Arena in Jakarta, Indonesia.
Coach Michael Oliver cautioned the team that everything will go down the drain – including its stunning upset of the fancied Chinese – if the Filipinos are not able to get the job done against the Japanese.
“The China win not mean a thing if we will not going to take care of the game against Japan,” team manager Andrew Teh quoted Oliver as telling the boys during his pep talk to the team as it conducted its viewing for the Japan game during the tournament’s one-day break.
“We have to maintain the intensity and not take Japan lightly,” Teh added.
The Batang Gilas held practice at 12 noon and then proceeded to pay a courtesy call to Philippine consul general Roberto Manalo.
A win by the Filipinos over the Japanese would set them up for a semifinal showdown against the winner of the other quarterfinal pairing between unbeaten Chinese Taipei and Thailand.
The nationals clinched the No. 2 seeding in Group F following their shocking win over the Chinese, who still ended up the No. 1 team after emerging with a better quotient. The Filipinos, Chinese, and South Korea all finished with similar 4-1 cards, with the Sokors clinching the No. 3 seeding.
The top three finishers in the week-long tournament will earn bertsh to the Fiba World U17 Championship to be held in Spain from June 22 to July 3 next year.
The 2013 Batang Gilas team of coach Jamike Jarin made it to last year’s world championship following a runner-up finish in the Fiba Asia U16 meet behind champion China.