TAB Baldwin said Gilas needed the offensive firepower of Troy Rosario and Ranidel De Ocampo more than the defense of Japeth Aguilar as he explained his player rotation in Wednesday’s Fiba Olympic Qualifying Tournament match against France.
Fans were surprised that Aguilar was not fielded in Gilas Pilipinas’ 93-84 loss to France, with spectators at the packed Mall of Asia Arena even changing his name at one point in the match.
Asked about it during the post-game press conference, Baldwin said the move was a strategic decision as he believed fielding in Rosario and De Ocampo will allow Gilas to match France vaunted offense.
“It’s always what you get, what you give up in every decision you make in terms of substitution. We felt we wanted the offensive end of the floor covered,” Baldwin told reporters.
Baldwin said he felt Gilas Pilipinas would have a hard time stopping France regardless of the five he had on the floor. True enough, Tony Parker and Nando De Colo combined for 46 points to lead Les Bleus' offensive onslaught.
“We really believe that France has the ability to put points on the board. We felt from the very start that it’s going to be tough to keep their score down. We wanted to but we wanted to do it by scheme and we didn’t think our personnel can just go out there head-to-head to shut them down. We needed to scheme well,” said Baldwin.
Baldwin felt Rosario and De Ocampo can give the Philippines an extra weapon on offense to throw at Parker and Co., in the hope that Gilas could match France point for point.
Rosario and De Ocampo combined for nine points. The 6-5 De Ocampo started for Gilas but struggled offensively, although Rosario proved a revelation with his aggressiveness off both boards.
“We also need to score and playing Del (De Ocampo) and Troy, Troy gave us extra possessions with his work on the board, and Del didn’t hit the shots that we all know he could hit. He didn’t get enough shots according to our offensive schemes. That is why he was out there,” said Baldwin.
“We are going to give something up inside but we didn’t want to compromise too much of our offense on the floor,” said Baldwin.