IN the few short days that the hastily formed Philippine team practiced for the Asian Games, national head coach Yeng Guiao has already seen positive results as the squad is beginning to take shape for the men’s basketball competition in Jakarta.
Guiao and the rest of the Philippine squad several fans have called ‘Gilastopainters’ are set to fly to Jakarta on Sunday night, just one week removed from an announcement by the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) that it has changed its mind and will be sending a basketball team to the Asiad.
Practice began just Monday, but Guiao said the team composed of the core of PBA squad Rain or Shine has been playing as a team despite the short preparation.
“Doon ako natuwa. ‘Yung samahan, ‘yung core ng Rain or Shine, madaling nakapag-blend sa mga galing sa labas. I’m really happy about that. Ilang araw lang ‘yun. In a few more days, mai-improve pa natin,” said Guiao.
The Philippines beat TNT, 78-76, on Saturday in its first and only tune-up game before the Asian Games, and Guiao saw a lot of teamwork in the match.
“We can be a lot more efficient. Kulang sa oras. Pero sa oras na inensayo namin, ang ganda na ng nakita kong teamwork. The ball is moving, the guys are looking for each other, the guys are helping each other, creating scoring opportunities for each other,” said Guiao.
A day after the Philippine squad beat TNT in that tune-up, the team braved the monsoon rains for a light practice at the Meralco gym for a walkthrough of their plays.
Guiao said they will continue practicing when they arrive in Jakarta before Thursday’s match against Kazakhstan. The NLEX coach said they will no longer have tune-up matches there, buty they aim to improve even more.
“Wala ka nang puwedeng i-tune-up doon. Puro practice na lang at film viewing,” Guiao said.
“We still have a few more days. We will try to maximize time to be able to seek remedy sa mga flaws namin,” he said.