FOR now Franco Arsego, the Australian coach of Singapore, was man enough to take the 47-point blowout his team suffered against Gilas Pilipinas in Day 2 of the Southeast Asia Basketball Association (Seaba) Championship.
He knows six months from today, he’ll have the opportunity to get even against the Filipinos in his own little way.
“I’m from Australia and in the (FIBA-World Cup) qualifiers, I think they (Gilas) are grouped with the Australian team, so I will have my little revenge just then,” he laughingly shared to local media men shortly after the Singaporeans absorbed a 113-66 beating at the hands of the all-pro Philippine squad Saturday night at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
During the draw for the FIBA World Cup qualifiers held last week, the country – if it goes to win the Seaba tournament – ended up being grouped with Australia, along with Japan, and Chinese Taipei in the meet that has a home-and-away format.
The Filipinos have no less than the mighty Aussies for their first opponent when the qualifiers kick off in November.
Of course, everything was just for fun. Arsego, who’s been in the coaching business for 38 years now, has nothing but respect for Gilas.
“But it will be great. They’re a good group. Any team that has what you qualify to the Olympics, that’s a high-standard team,” said the veteran Australian mentor.
He actually has good words for Gilas.
“There’s no question that they are a very talented team. They bring in energy, and they have great size,” Arsego stressed. “They play as a team and their three-point shooting is really quite outstanding.”
Despite Singapore losing for the second straight game for a share of the cellar with Malaysia in the standings, the Singapore coach said it’s definitely a good learning experience for his team.
“We’re very blessed to have this sort of competition in the region because I know I can always come to the Philippines with this great hospitality, and with this great basketball,” he added.
Arcego later revealed he plans to bring the team back here in July as part of its preparation for the Southeast Asian Games in Malaysia this August.