AS Gilas Pilipinas prepares for its highly-anticipated clash with powerhouse Iran in the 17th Asian Games, Marc Pingris foresees the same old dilemma the national team will be facing – how to contain NBA veteran Hamed Haddadi.
Aside from him, he expects naturalized center Marcus Douthit and June Mar Fajardo to rotate among themselves in trying to put the clamps on the Iranian big man, whom the nationals will be facing on Sept. 25 in their first meeting since Iran beat the Philippines for the gold medal of the FIBA-Asia Men’s Championship last year in Manila.
“Si Hamed Haddadi, di naman talaga mabilis, pero sobrang-sobra ang laki niya talaga,” Pingris told Spin.ph just before the team left for Incheon, South Korea on Saturday aboard a Philippine Airlines flight.
The presence of Andray Blatche, according to Pingris, could have given the 7-foot-2 Haddadi a big challenge. Unfortunately, the Incheon Asian Games Organizing Committee (IAGCO) barred him from suiting up for Gilas for failing to meet the three-year residency requirement for all naturalized players.
“Siyempre malaking bagay si Andray Blatche, pero kailangan nating tanggapin na di siya makakalaro sa Asian Games,” he said.
“Mag-a-adjust na lang tayo sa big guys.”
The 6-foot-5 Pingris said the nationals intend to use their quickness and prepare their defense to deny the passing lanes of the Iranians, who like Gilas, finished with a 1-4 record during the recent Fiba-World Cup in Spain.
“Basta ang gagawin lang namin, pagta-trabahuhan muna namin lahat,” he said.
“Hindi kami dapat magpa-easy easy kasi madaling isiping malakas tayo pero mahirap gawin na talunin natin ang kagaya ng Iran,” added the 32-year-old banger from Pozzorubio, Pangasinan.
Gilas Pilipinas makes its Asiad debut on Sept. 23 when it faces the top team in Group B of the preliminaries.