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    Vietnam coach Donte Hill says 'clever' countdown stunt reflects devotion of Pinoy fans 

    May 17, 2017
    Vietnam coach Donte Hill says Gilas is headed in the right direction. Jerome Ascano

    VIETNAM head coach Donte Hill got a first-hand taste on how rabid Filipino basketball fans can affect a game.

    He was left impressed.

    With just seconds left in the third period of the Gilas-Vietnam game, home fans started counting down the shot clock, forcing Vu Linh Tran to hoist a hurried jumper that missed badly.

    The only problem is, the shot clock wasn't actually winding down. It eventually led to two free throws for Jayson Castro that gave Gilas an 89-40 cushion heading to the fourth.

    Hill was amused.

    "I thought it was clever. It showed the kind of commitment that these fans have. They make sure they give their best effort for their team," said Hill.

    "I got a kick out of it cause our players are not used to that. Our players are not used to these kinds of competitions," he added.

    [See Five down, one to go for Gilas]

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    That amusing requence only proved to Hill that his players still have a long way to go when it comes to competing in tournaments of this magnitude.

    "You have to be mindful to be a great basketball player. You have to be mindful of the moment and you can't get lost in the translation of what's going on outside your mind. You got to listen to your voice, my voice and your team's voice," Hill continued.

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    "One of the things about playing on the road, you have to close your mind and focus on the moment. That was the key."

    Asked what he thought of Philippine basketball in general, the American mentor believesthe country is on the right track when it comes to its goal of joining the elite in world basketball.

    "They're looking on competing on a higher stage. The (Fiba World Cup) games in 2019, hopefully the 2020 Olympics. What they have to do is kinda what they're doing right now ... they're moving the ball and opening things up," Hill said.

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    "I like the direction they're headed as far as the basketball team is concerned. Really impressed with the basketball culture in the Philippines."

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    Vietnam coach Donte Hill says Gilas is headed in the right direction. Jerome Ascano
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