GILAS Pilipinas players admitted that they became a little complacent after learning they only needed to beat Hong Kong to win Group E following Qatar's shock victory against Chinese Taipei.
The Philippine team got a huge break when erstwhile Group E leader Chinese-Taipei suffered its first setback against Qatar on Wednesday, leading everybody but the most pessimistic Filipino fan to concede the top qualifying berth in Group E to the host team.
Jeff Chan admitted the players relaxed a bit after hearing about the bit of good news.
“Natutulog nga ako noong game na ‘yun, nagulat ako na nanalo sila ng three points,” Chan said. “Siguro nga may konting complacency, nag-relax ng konti kaya masama ang start.”
Point guard LA Tenorio had a different view.
“I think more than relaxed, masyadong kaming tight. Masyado kaming expecting too much from this game na kayang-kaya namin. Malaking pagkakamali namin. The past two games, we know na puwede kaming matalo. Siguro ngayon, ‘yung feeling namin, kayang-kaya namin,” Tenorio said.
Tenorio credited Hong Kong for playing well as they were even outrebounded, 36-45.
“Sobra sigurong tuwa ng team,” Tenorio said. “But we have to give credit din to Hong Kong. They really went to the game focused. They outrebounded us.”
Chan and Tenorio said they can’t afford to be complacent this time with the knockout stages set to start on Friday
“Hindi dapat ito maulit. We can’t affort to have that kind of result,” said Tenorio.
“Hindi puwede sa quarterfinals ito,” said Chan. “Dapat strong start, strong finish.”
Meantime, Marcus Douthit was just so thankful to Qatar for clearing the way for the Filipinos to grab the top qualifying spot - and a match against Kazakhstan in the crossover quarterfinals.
“They gave us a big favor,” said Douthit, who watched the game at the hotel lobby.