SEVILLE, SPAIN - Still reeling from a heartbreaking loss loss to Croatia, coach Chot Reyes was asked if anything has changed for Gilas Pilipinas going into the match against Greece late Sunday (Monday morning, Manila time) in its second game in the Fiba World Cup.
Reyes conceded that the Greece game will be far different from the previous match, and that he was certain Gilas will be looked at in a far different light from hereon in this 24-nation conclave after nearly pulling the rug from under world No. 18 Croatia, 78-81, in overtime on Saturday.
But one thing that won't change is Gilas' goal, Reyes said.
"Win," he said emphatically.
The multi-titled coach, however, warned that he expects the Greeks, the Fiba World Cup runner-ups in 2006 after beating Team USA in the semifinals and twice European champions, will be a "tougher test" than the Croatians as Gilas continues its ambitious bid for a place in the second round.
While the tall Croatians struggled to handle Gilas' quickness, Reyes warned that the Greeks are quicker and more physical and therefore can match up better against the Filipinos.
"Greece is quicker and more physical than Croatia," Reyes, a five-time PBA Coach of the Year, told Spin.ph. "It will be a tougher test for us than Croatia."
Currently ranked fifth in the world, the Greeks flexed their muscle in their debut on Saturday, swamping Senegal 87-64 behind strong performances from Milwaukee Bucks mainstay Antetokoumpo Giannis and Kostas Kaimakoglu who finished with 17 points and eight rebounds.
Gilas mainstay Ranidel De Ocampo, however, is no longer fazed by Greece, saying all the teams look the same from where the Filipinos sit.
"Pare-pareho na sa amin ang mga 'yan. Lahat malalaki sa amin," said the Talk 'N Text star. "Nagiiba na lang 'yan pagdating sa game plan, pero pagdating sa laro pareho lang. Laban lang palagi."
Naturalized player Andray Blatche said he expects Gilas to have a lot more confidence in its succeeding games after holding its own against Croatia.
"Same play, come over with a lot of heart, a lot of effort," he told Spin.ph. "A lot of teams woke up and a realized the kind of team we are. We are getting better and we will keep on fighting.