TAIPEI - This is one Gilas Pilipinas team where the best shooter is still one of their coaches.
Yet Jimmy Alapag is not worried about this misfiring national team.
"No worries, shots will eventually fall," said the Gilas assistant coach, who carved a reputation as one of the best gunners of Asia during his time with the national team. "Pero ganoon talaga when you basketball. Sometimes when you have an open shot and you feel like it's gonna go in, but it just won't."
Alapag was quick to ease the concerns after a surprise zone defense from South Korea exposed the weaknesses of this young Gilas side which went a horrendous 1-of-26 from beyond the three-point arc and ended up losing, 72-83, on Wednesday.
The former Gilas captain said the strain from playing five games in as many days as well as the effort it took to cover South Korea's shooters took a toll on players like Matthew Wright (0-for-7), Kiefer Ravena (0-for-3) and Roger Pogoy (0-for-5).
"Not only is this their first Jones Cup together, pero grabe and schedule. It was our fifth game in five days," said the former PBA MVP.
"And to play Korea, they're like a machine with the way they run their offense, the way that they move. So we exerted so much energy defensively, I think it affeted our offense a little bit."
Certainly, the Koreans won't ever dare play zone when Alapag is on the floor, right?
Alapag let out a laugh, but insisted shooting slumps happen to the best of 'em.
"It happens. You hope it doesn't happen so often but it happens, this is basketball. We had great looks, they just wouldn't drop. Again it's part of the growing process of this team and I think we'll shoot much better today."
So what advice did he give the team?
"I told the guys, kung minsan when you have a game like that and you struggle from the field with your shooting, best thing to do is get back in the gym and shoot some more," he said. "So I think it helped the guys to see the ball go through the basket this morning."