OUTSIDE of his heated verbal joust with Yeng Guiao, Jordan coach Joey Stiebing actually had some nice words to say about Team Pilipinas.
One Filipino player even stood out in the eyes of the American mentor.
Stiebing describes the Philippine squad as a ‘very good team, very experience that has played together for a while,’ and a team which ‘plays hard.’
“And when you play hard, then you’re always have a chance to win games,” said Stiebing. “They can shoot the basketball. And that’s why I can see them winning or at the top four of their group at this point.”
Until that shouting match he had with Guiao, Jordan seemed to be playing well as shown by its 98-92 win in the first of its tune-up matches against the Philippines, and was actually ahead by 19 points in the first half of their second meeting until their meltdown in the third quarter, ending up with an 82-73 deficit when the game was cut short following the confrontation between the two coaches.
“They play very well and they run some nice offensive sets. They know each other well,” Stiebing said of Team Pilipinas, which he said already played a lot different during the time he was still calling the shots for the Qatar national team.
“I like them. They got a nice team, they play well together, they compete, and they’re physical. I’ve coached Qatar 10-11 years ago and we used to play the Philippines, and they’re a lot bigger and a lot more physical now than what they used to be,” said Stiebing.
In particular, the product of the University of New Orleans was impressed with veteran guard Jayson Castro, who saw action in the first PH-Jordan match but sat out the next.
“I really like no. 7, their point guard,” said Stiebing, who replaced Sam Daghles after Jordan lost back-to-back games in the fourth window, including an 86-75 setback at home against South Korea.
“He (Castro) really creates, makes things happen to them (Filipinos).”
Being in the job for less than two months, the former Southeastern Louisiana University coach said the tune-up games such as the one Jordan had with the Philippines would be a big help for him knowing the team well.
“I’ve just starting to get to know these guys, just trying to develop a relationship with them, and trying to get them of hopefully make it to the world championship,” said Stiebing, a veteran coach in the Chinese Basketball Association (CBA).
Despite the incident with the host, the American mentor was grateful for the chance to play Team Pilipinas and help Jordan prepare for the coming window of the FIBA World Cup qualifiers.
“Very fortunate and very thankful that we get to play a big-time national program like the Philippines and help us prepare for our next window,” he said.
Jordan will play two games away from home, taking on Group E leader New Zealand on Nov. 30 and then Korea on Dec. 3.
He pointed out playing against the Filipinos certainly will help Jordan prepare against the Sokors.
“Playing against the Philippines will probably match the Koreans, who will gonna play and has similar styles,” said Stiebing.
Jordan leaves the country on Nov. 25.