AFTER laying into some of his players for a lackluster performance in an exhibition match against a PBA selection on Wednesday night, Gilas Pilipinas coach Chot Reyes said only two things can happen in another friendly against Kazakhstan on Friday.
“I hope it’s (Gilas performance) different on Friday," the fiery coach said. “But there are only two ways, it’s either it (the bad game on Wednesday) will get them down or it will get them fired up on Friday.
"I’m banking on the latter."
Going into the match against Kazakhstan tipping off at 7 p.m. at the Smart Araneta Coliseum, Reyes knows Gilas cannot afford to play the same way they did on Wednesday night when the nationals commited 21 turnovers in a 99-87 win over the PBA selection.
Reyes pointed out that Anton Ponomarev and naturalized player Jerry Jamar “Triple J” Johnson make Kazakhstan a tough challenge for Gilas. The Kazakhs' highest Fiba-Asia finish was fourth place during the 2007 edition in Tokushima, Japan.
The national mentor said the 6-foot-11 Ponomarev could easily make it to the NBA because of his size, offense and rebounding.
Ponomarev played a major role in Kazakhstan’s fourth-place finish in the 2007 edition, averaging 17.6 points and 7.1 rebounds in the competition. Johnson adds stability to the team's backcourt, being a star playmaker for the Astana team in the Kazakh league.
Reyes added that with a week to go before the start of the 27th Fiba-Asia men’s championship, they can’t afford to be sloppy and revert to their bad habits.
“Our weapon is the ability to create shots and get open looks for our outside shooters to do their job. There’s no reason for us to play just one good quarter. Otherwise, pupulutin tayo sa kangkungan,” he added.