THE shocking loss to Chinese-Taipei prompted Robert Jaworski to return to the Mall of Asia Arena to watch Gilas Pilipinas play Japan, in the hope of helping boost the host team's sagging morale.
Jaworski missed Saturday’s game against Taipei due to a prior commitment after being at ringside for the game against Jordan. The star of the last all-Filipino team to win the Fiba-Asia championships (and its forerunner ABC) in 1973 was back in the stands on Monday night.
“That’s why I’m here,” Jaworski told a handful of reporters. “I didn’t watch that game (against Chinese-Taipei). I watched the other game.”
Jaworski said the 90-71 victory over Japan on Monday was definitely a boost for the team, but the PBA Hall of Famer was quick to caution that there are still more games to go.
“It’s good that we got our morale back after the loss,” said Jaworski, a sought-after figure inside the packed arena as he obliged autograph requests and photo opportunities from fans.
Still, Jaworski reminded Gilas Pilipinas that it can no longer afford to let up.
“Let’s face it, Japan didn’t play. They (Gilas players) got to push themselves a little more and prepare for the bigger games,” said the former Ginebra playing-coach.
“We have less than 10 games (to play in this tournament) so you have to give everything and not be afraid to be burned out. If you can embrace anybody to get a foul, then that’s what you have to do,” said Jaworski.
“You just have to give your best a thousand percent,” he added.
Jaworski said that defense will still be the key if the nationals hope to have a chance in the knockout rounds against heavyweights like Iran, China, and Korea.
“We have to improve on our defense. They should mark those guys who can shoot from way out and stick to them like crazy. That’s the only way,” he said.