SEVENTH seed Philippines takes on Poland and Turkmenistan on Thursday, needing to win both matches to make it to the quarterfinals of the Fiba 3x3 Under-18 World Cup in Chengdu, China.
AJ Edu, Juan Gomez de Liano, Encho Serrano and Rhayyan Amsali had a fine first outing in the with a 19-17 win over Isreal before bowing to top seed Netherlands, 13-10, for a 1-1 record.
"We are very happy sa performance namin sa first game," said Anton Altamirano, who accompanied the team in Chengdu along with Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas 3x3 operations officer Mark Solano. "Israel is one of the top teams sa pool namin. They beat Poland which is another top team.
"Netherlands is the top-seed. We almost beat them which says a lot about how good our team can be," Altamirano added.
Taking a break on Thursday from the competition, the Philippine squad is aware that the task at hand is still not done despite a creditable performance in the first day of the competition.
"But of course, we need to stay focused especially in our next two games. We need to win both to advance to the quarterfinals," Altamirano said.
The Polish cagers, seeded eighth, is also one of the favorites to advance into the quarterfinals.
The task may be daunting but Altamirano said the team is definitely not lacking in motivation.
"The Philippines has never made the quarterfinals in the World Cup so that is the No. 1 motivation we have. We want to honor our country by making it to the next rounds. Defense will be the battlecry all throughout," said Altamirano.