YENG Guiao admitted the quickness and hot three-point shooting of Kazakhstan spelled the difference in Team Pilipinas' crucial 92-88 loss Friday night in the FIBA World Cup qualifiers.
The visiting team waxed hot from three-point range by going 12-of-23 from downtown for a high 52-percent led by big man Alexander Zhigulin.
The veteran Kazakh fired 6-of-12 from the three-point field as he proved to be the thorn on the Filipinos' side, who absorbed their second loss in the last three games at home.
"I've said this before. If Kazakhstan would be able to make its threes, we would be in trouble," said the national coach shortly after the game played before a capacity crowd at the Mall of Asia Arena.
“And our problem there was their bigs were the ones making the threes and our bigs could not really step out to challenge those threes because if they extend out long, the quickness of the Kazakhs would be emphasized because we will be having a hard time just staying in front of their quick bigs with our own bigs.”
The national coach added Team Philippines was mismatched in terms of quickness especially its big men.
At one point in the fourth quarter, Guiao had to make do with Gabe Norwood playing the ‘4’ spot to match the Kazakhs’ quickness.
“Just to be able to keep up with the quickness of the Kazakhstan team and still be able to play our game of constant ball movement and try to keep the game fast,” explained the national coach behind the rationale of going for a small line-up late in the game with only June Mar Fajardo manning the middle.
And then there was the free throw shooting.
The host was just 10-of-15 from the foul line compared to the 24-of-34 by the visitors, including a perfect 6-of-6 inside the final two minutes that kept the Filipinos at bay.
“So it’s really the aggressiveness of the Kazakh team that was apparent in attacking the baskets and us being drawn to those fouls. Masyadong maraming free throws ang binigay natin.”
But Guiao stressed there's no need to ponder about the stunning loss at home especially with another big game coming the team's way on Monday against Iran.
The Iranians lost to Australia earlier, 76-47, but remained in second place with a 6-3 record following the loss of the Philippines, now tied with Japan - which beat Qatar at home, 85-47- at third with 5-4 records
"We still have one game on Monday and we can't feel too negative about ourselves," he said.
"I think we can salvage the situation if we're able to play a good game against Iran, and learn a lesson from this game,"