JIMMY Alapag said Gilas Pilipinas will have to shoot well and be competitive off the boards if it hopes to pull off a surprise or two in the Fiba-World Cup in Spain.
“Thinking off hand, one, we’re gonna have to shoot well. Then we have to rebound because we were one of the small teams in the Fiba-Asia and we’ll probably be one of the smallest (teams) in Spain,” Alapag shared to Spin.ph.
The veteran guard out of California State University, San Bernardino said with a tough bracket in Group B that includes powerhouse Argentina, Greece, Croatia, Puerto Rico, and Senegal, the nationals will have to be extremely focused in their preparations to meet their target of winning at least two games and advance in the second round.
“I think if we can rebound the ball and maximize our shots, we can give ourselves a chance to get a win or two. But I’m sure coach Chot (Reyes) will be focusing on each particular team,” he added.
But Alapag, one of the shortest players during last year’s Fiba-Asia Men’s Championship where Gilas achieved a surprising runner-up finish, acknowledged the world championship is a whole new ballgame considering the nationals will be up against the best cagers in the planet.
“It’s gonna be tough, the competition there because you are talking about the best teams in the world, so obviously, we have our work cut out for us,” explained the 36-year-old Alapag, who continues to be a solid three-point threat for the national team.
With Reyes adding five more players to the Gilas pool, Alapag said the new faces will have to work with them and keep everyone focused in the hope of pulling some surprises in Spain.
“We just have to lock in and focus. With the addition of the new guys, a lot of them have national team experience and Paul Lee, he’s one of the top young players in the PBA. I think we have a great group,” noted the Talk ‘N Text spitfire guard.
“We want to go to Spain and showcase the Philippine brand of basketball We believe we have a lot of support here in the Philippines and from around the world.”
Alapag banged in 14 points, including two critical three-point shots in the final minute of Gilas’ 86-79 upset of South Korea in the semis that clinched for the country a berth in the World Cup for the first time since 1978.