SEVILLE, SPAIN – Jeff Chan has been a marked man in the PBA, but its is only now that he is starting to feel how ruthless opposing defenses can be at the Fiba World Cup level.
After exploding for 17 points on 4-of-6 shooting from the field in the 78-81 loss to Croatia on Saturday, the Gilas Pilipinas hitman found himself starved for three points in the next three games as the opponents’ defense zeroed in on him.
The Rain or Shine hitman’s diminished numbers, according to Gilas teammate LA Tenorio, is a tribute to how well coaches and their large staff scout teams at this level.
“Si Jeff nga, pagkatapos ng first game, hindi na s’ya nakakita ng ring ulit,” said Tenorio sighing.
Chan went 1-of-7 from the field the following game against Greece, and the defense was so focused on him he was held to just two shots by Argentina and one by Puerto Rico. He ended up scoreless both games.
The former FEU gunner later admitted not getting the good looks he got in the Croatia game.
“After ng Croatia, lahat ng defenders ko nandoon na sa harap ko palagi,” Chan told Spin.ph. “Na-feel ko talaga daihl ang bantay ko di na nawawala sa akin.”
It was no different with the other Gilas players.
After waxing hot with 18 points on a 7-of-14 clip – and 3-of-6 on three-point shots – in the loss to Argentina, Ranidel De Ocampo was held to five shots in 25 minutes by Puerto Rico, making just one basket and none from three-point land.
Jimmy Alapag had the same experience, starved to three shots by Puerto Rico after making five of seven three-point attempts in the Argentina game.
From the court to the tournament’s official hotel in downtown Seville, Tenorio said you can get an idea of how the coaches and staff of the world’s top teams - with their large team of scouts and videographers – work their magic.
“Ganoon kagaling ang mga scouts talaga. Kasi kung mapapansin mo, mayroon doon walo, sampu sa bench nila, at mayroon ‘pang nakaupo sa gilid ng bench namin, nagsusulat,” said the Ginebra guard.
“Ibig sabihin ganoon sila ka-detalye, alam nila lahat ng weaknesses,” he added.