YENG Guiao cautioned Team Pilipinas against complacency ahead of its match against a visiting Kazakhstan side in their FIBA World Cup qualifier on Friday at the Mall of Asia Arena.
The national coach has to ring the alarm bells in the wake of the Filipinos’ 96-59 rout of the Kazakhs the last time they met in the Asian Games in Jakarta three months ago.
Guiao noted the Philippines shot the lights out during that game, converting 59 percent of its field goal compared to the 41 percent of their opponents. The Filipinos also had less turnovers, 9-22.
While he hopes the national team can repeat the same, Guiao is nonetheless ready for whatever adjustment the visitors will be bringing to the court for the fifth window of the qualifiers.
“I think we should expect the worst and we should also expect that they’ve already made the adjustments seeing what they saw in the Asian Games. Nakita na nila yung depensa natin sa kanila, so ia-adjust na nila yung offense nila,” said Guiao.
The entire Kazakhstan team is set to arrive in the country Wednesday night.
Team Pilipinas began scouting and viewing game tapes of Kazakhstan on Tuesday, though Guiao pointed out the Filipinos already have an idea of how the Central Asian country plays.
The only question now is whether the Kazakhs will be fielding in the same team they had during the Asiad.
“Ang hindi na lang natin alam pa kung may pinalitan sila sa lineup. We’re watching that very closely if they will have new players,” said Guiao. “If they don’t have new players, we more or less know what this team can do. Plus hindi naman nagbago yung coach nila, so they’re basically running the same system.”
But if ever Kazakhstan has new faces on its team, it’s tit for tat for Team Pilipinas as well, which will be parading a number of new players of its own.
“Advantage din natin actually nag-iba tayo ng lineup halos,” said Guiao, mentioning the likes of June Mar Fajardo, Greg Slaughter, Arwind Santos, among others, who were not part of the national team pool during the Asiad and the fourth window of the qualifier.
“Ngayon lang yung mga yan. So baka hindi nila gaano kilala at maging advantage sa atin.”
Any which way, Guiao will be more than elated just beating Kazakhstan, whether by the slimmest of margin or not.
“We beat them by 30 plus points yata noon. Mahirap ng ulitin yun. Masyadong maganda yung laro natin nung time na yun. If we can beat them by one point, I’ll be happy especially now that we’re still trying to get our cohesion going,” said Guiao.