PBA commissioner Willie Marcial commended Gilas Pilipinas' gallant stand against Australia on Thursday, believing the Philippines can put up a better showing in the return game than in its 84-68 loss in their Fiba World Cup qualifying match.
The Filipino dribblers, ranked 21 spots below the 10th-ranked Australians in the world rankings, led by five points in the second quater in enemy territory before seeing the Boomers break away in the second half.
"Kulang lang tayo ng intensity sa dulo eh," Marcial said in a short chat with scribes after attending the viewing party hosted by the Australian embassy at the Skypark in SM Aura.
Marcial feels the Filipinos could've fared better had Andray Blatche been in better condition as the naturalized center looked sluggish after a solid start, finishing with eight points on 3-of-11 shooting, seven boards, and two blocks in almost 26 minutes.
"Number 10 sila (sa rankings) tayo 31st, pero nakaka… Konting conditioning pa si Andray Blatche, pwede na nating labanan 'yon," the PBA commissioner said.
"Delikado sila sa atin sa July 2," he added, referring to the two nations' grudge match at the Mall of Asia Arena.
Fans, though, won't have to wait that long to see Gilas produce a better result as the national team hosts Japan on Sunday at the MOA Arena to wrap up the second window of the qualifiers.
"Abangan niyo yung sa Japan, kasi palagay ko mas maganda yung lalaruin natin," Marcial said.