FOR Ranidel de Ocampo, it’s a matter of Gilas Pilipinas adopting the mindset that the team is now playing against world class competition with the FIBA-World Cup set to kick off in Seville, Spain on Saturday.
“Dapat makuha namin ang respeto ng mga kalaban. Saka ma-shift na namin ang mind namin na pang world na talaga tayo,” said De Ocampo on the eve of the team’s first game in the world championship in 36 years against Croatia.
“Dapat maging confident kami sa sarili namin,” added De Ocampo in a chat with Spin.ph on Friday without sounding too cocky.
From there, he said everything follows.
Against the Croatians, a known European power, De Ocampo believes the team has a chance of pulling an upset especially if the nationals get to stick to the game plan of coach Chot Reyes.
“Sa tingin ko may chance kami manalo every game. Kailangan lang namin magawa ng maayos ang game plan sa bawat team na makakalaban namin,” said the native of Tanza, Cavite.
Gilas is bunched in a tough Group B bracket that also includes Greece, Argentina, Puerto Rico, and Senegal.
The 6-foot-5 De Ocampo, who has shifted to playing the small forward position with Gilas, explained the month-long training camp and series of tune-up matches it played had no doubt helped them adapt to the FIBA style of play.
The Talk `N Text stalwart said the team will have to find ways to turn its size disadvantage into something positive in the hope of outplaying their taller and more physical rivals in the meet.
“Ang mga mahahalagang bagay na natutunan namin eh dapat magawan namin ng paraan ang pagiging small team natin,” he stressed.
Coach Reyes previously said two victories can guarantee the Philippines a spot in the round of 16.
So far, the Philippines is 4-6 in its 10-game tune-up as part of its FIBA-World Cup buildup, winning over Miami Pro-Am and Elev8 in South Beach, Florida, before posting victories against the ACB Select and Egypt in the Spanish cities of Vitoria and Guadalajara.
The Filipinos went 0-3 in the four-nation pocket tournament in Antibes, France, losing to France, Australia, and Ukraine, before bowing to Euskadi, Angola and Dominican Republic in its Spanish city tour.