GILAS Pilipinas guard Jayson Castro said the loss to the hard-fighting Taiwanese taught them a lesson in terms of complacency.
Up by double digits in the final frame, Gilas slipped as Chinese Taipei fought hard to snatch an 84-79 win before a stunned crowd Saturday night at the Mall of Asia Arena and deny the hosts a perfect record in the group stage.
“Lesson learned na lang itong nangyari sa amin. Up by 13, panalo na sana kami at sabi nga ni coach huwag muna mag-celebrate,” said the cat-quick Castro, who has been a revelation for Gilas in the tournament with his blinding speed and outside shooting.
“Sobrang flat kasi fourth quarter namin. Then, we’re not communicating on defense na naman. Parang yun ang naging habit namin eh. Parang relax na kami eh, kaya wake up call ito sa amin na di kami pwede mag-relax,” he added.
Still, Castro and backcourt mate Jimmy Alapag remain optimistic Gilas could bounce back.
“Anytime a team hits 15 threes, it’s tough to beat a team that shoots that well. But the guys fought hard. Yet, like (Gilas) coach (Chot Reyes) said, this tournament is not a sprint but a marathon,” Alapag told a handful of reporters after the game.
“We had to stay together and get ready for the next round.”
Castro said Gilas (2-1) enters the next phase with a mindset of winning all three of its games as it prepares for the more challenging quarterfinal round.
“Must-win itong three games namin (in the second round). Kailangan naming ipanalo talaga. Kailangan naming siguraduhing pagbubutihin namin lahat ng games sa second round,” said a determined Castro.