JULIO Lamas is no stranger to Gilas Pilipinas. More so for veterans like Jayson Castro, Gabe Norwood, Japeth Aguilar, and June Mar Fajardo who nearly pulled off a gigantic upset over Lamas and his Argentinian side during the 2014 World Cup in Seville, Spain.
Lamas, for those who don't know, was a three-time national champion in Argentina and a longtime coach of its national team. He was the coach of that star-studded Argentina team in 2014 that included NBA players Luis Scola, Pablo Prigioni, and Andres Nocioni.
That team also barely survived a scare from Gilas 2.0, which gave Scola and Co. all they could handle before dropping an 81-85 decision on September 1, 2014.
"They made us look like fools in the first quarter," Lamas later told scribes. "This is the most uncomfortable game I had to coach in my life."
Asked about Gilas, the veteran coach continued: "The Philippines plays a very strange style of basketball we've never seen. But they play to their full potential."
Fast forward to 2017 and Lamas is now the coach of Japan in the qualifiers for the 2019 Fiba World Cup in China. The tables have also been turned: Gilas is now the favorite over the Japan side he started handling in the middle of the year.
Japan's home team played well under the master handling of the experienced Lamas, keeping Andray Blatche and Co. in check up until the final minutes.
However, there was no denying Gilas as it hacked out a vengeful 77-71 win over Lamas and his Japan team.