GILAS Pilipinas has been turning to a virtual scout ahead of its opening assignment in the Southeast Asian Games on Sunday night against Thailand.
Former Thailand coach Tim Lewis, who now casually serves as consultant for Gilas, has precious intel of the Filipino dribblers’ regional rivals, having handed the Thai national team that played in the Seaba tournament last May before getting replaced.
The British coach, though, played down his knowledge of the current squad that he believes is more formidable than the Seaba side that suffered a 108-53 beating at the hands of Gilas last May.
“Thailand had a very different team (in the Seaba),” Lewis said. “They took a younger team and left a lot of experience back home. Gilas had Andray (Blatche) playing, so you know, it’s gonna be different, no doubt.”
“They probably got a slightly stronger team now. It just depends,” he added. “I don’t know what their preparations are being like. They’re coming off playing a league season. There’s fatigue and stuff. I expect the game to be competitive.”
After all, the Thais have half-American standout Tyler Lamb in the fold as well as a few more key additions.
“It’s the first time (Lamb’s playing) and they’ve got a couple of guys who didn’t play in the Seaba,” Lewis said. “They held them back. One big and a couple of guards. They’ll be a different team.”
“This is probably the most — this is probably the team we’ve been trying to get on the floor on Thailand for the last eighteen months, two years. We never did it,” he added. “So they’ll be better without a doubt than they were in Seaba”
Gilas coach Jong Uichico welcomed whatever input Lewis has on a Thailand side that looms as the Filipino dribblers’ primary obstacle in their road to reasserting regional supremacy.
“He doesn’t know what Thailand is running now, but based on his stint as Seaba coach, (he has given us input),” Uichico said.