NATIONAL coach Chot Reyes and his Gilas Pilipinas brace for the ‘real battle’ on Friday against Jordan in the Fiba-Asia Championship at the Mall of Asia Arena.
Reyes admitted that he managed the minutes of the players and used the game against Saudi Arabia as preparation for the true test against Jordan, the runners-up from the tournament's previous edition in 2011.
“We are happy to get out of this game with the victory. The real battle is tomorrow,” said Reyes, moments after the Philippines bested Saudi Arabia, 78-66, on Thursday.
“We were trying to manage for tomorrow’s ball game. We didn’t want to have players with more than 20 minutes. We want to distribute the minutes. We need our energy, be fresh, and play our best tomorrow,” said Reyes.
Friday's match will be a rematch of the semis against Jordan which Gilas lost with a berth in the finals against eventual champion China on the line.
Jordan, however, will have a different team with Sam Daghles among the players not in this year’s roster.
Reyes, however, noted that Jordan remained a formidable foe especially inside the paint.
“It’s a matter of who will impose its own game. We like to run and rely on our quickness while Jordan loves to pound the ball inside. That’s the big test for tomorrow,” said Reyes.
He also admitted that Jimmy Baxter, who scored 30 points in a losing effort against Chinese Taipei, will be the Filipinos' main concern on defense.
“We need to contain Baxter. That’s going to be the test,” said Reyes.