TO Gilas Pilipinas coach Nenad Vucinic, the Philippines' 106-60 defeat to New Zealand on Thursday in the 2022 Fiba World Cup Asian qualifiers should serve as a character-building game if it wants to improve further down the road.
Vucinic on Gilas vs New Zealand
"It is a good thing for the young team, for the young players to understand what level we need to be at, to play at a high level in international basketball. Tall Blacks have dominated us in all aspects of the game and it's something that will help us to get better in the future," he said.
Other than that, Vucinic really couldn't offer much positives from the Filipinos' performance with the Tall Blacks waylaying the visitors in the 46-point blowout.
"Very tough night for this young team," rued the mentor. "We have come across a Tall Blacks team that is playing with high intensity and very good execution. We struggled to contain them in that part of the game, in the physicality, the intensity and the speed. And we struggled, really, offensively, to get things going."
It was total domination across the board for New Zealand, outrebounding Gilas, 47 to 33, while also scoring 52 points in the paint and 19 points on the break.
The Tall Blacks also shot 50-percent from the field and held the Filipino gunslingers to a measly 4-of-26 clip from distance while turning the Philippines' 19 turnovers to 32 easy points.
"It's very hard to find positives with such a heavy loss and I don't think there is any point focusing on positives," said the coach.
What Vucinic wants, though, is for this 11-man crew to erase the bitter memories of this defeat and turn their attention to Sunday's game against India.
"We have to eliminate the negative things that we had tonight," he said.
"India's gonna be another tough opposition, maybe not at this level, but they have experience and they have size as well. We have injuries, we are shorthanded, and we have lack of size. So it's gonna be, again, a difficult night for us, but we cannot play the way we played tonight. I'm sure that we will come with a much better performance on Sunday."