PAYBACK against Chinese Taipei is what motivates the Gilas Pilipinas youth team in their semifinal match-up in the Fiba-Asia U16 Championship in Tehran, Iran.
National coach Jamike Jarin said the Filipinos are looking forward to the rematch that comes on the heels of the Taiwanese’ 95-90 win during the two team’s first encounter in the preliminaries.
It was a heartbreaking loss for the PH youth team as it led Chinese-Taipei three-fourths of the way before losing steam in the endgame.
The setback brought back memories of Gilas Pilipinas’ tough 79-84 loss to Chinese-Taipei during the 27th Fiba-Asia Men’s Championship held in Manila last August.
And to all these, Jarin is seeking to even things out with their Taiwanese opponent.
“Hopefully, hopefully things will turn around,” said Jarin. “Chinese Taipei is also playing very well so it’s gonna be very interesting.”
“Sana we can score the vengeance for the country,” added the national team coach, his voice already sounding hoarse owing to the daily grind of the team in the tournament.
Both the Philippines and Chinese Taipei sport an identical 4-1 (win-loss) going to the knockout quarterfinal phase of the meet. The Filipinos routed Iran to make the semifinals, while the Taiwanese beat Bahrain, 70-67, to arrange their Final Four showdown.
For the Filipinos to win, Jarin said they need to fully focus on their defense.
“It’s where they beat us the last time. We relaxed in the final minutes. They clicked with their outside shooting. So we’ll try not to give them an inch next time,” he added.
“Of course, we learned from it (the loss). We cannot stop playing defense. We have to give them honest to goodness and relentless defense for 40 minutes,” said Jarin, who’s been at the helm of the Ateneo Blue Eaglets for 13 years now.
Jarin particularly emphasized the deadly shooting of Chinese Taipei, which is anchored on three point shooters Chang Chun-ting Chang and Su Han Tu.
“We have to contain their shooters. We need to control the boards and not let them earn second chance points,” Jarin said
“We will be going all-out for the Philippines,” he added as the Filipinos bid to finally break from their usual fourth place finish in the tournament since it began in 2009.
Japan and China figure in the other semifinal encounter.