NOT even the presence of a coach who has already experienced beating the Philippines in the past could save Myanmar from brutal beatdown as Gilas Pilipinas came away with a breezy 147-40 win in the 2017 SEABA Championships opener on Friday.
Myanmar coach Ten Kok Heng was part of the Malaysian side that pulled the rug from under the Philippines in the 1989 SEA Games. But’s that's all a distant memory now as his squad was dealt with a 107 point blowout in their debut against the regional basketball powerhouse.
"I'm very familiar with them. During my time we beat the Philippine team. We were the champions in SEA Games," said Heng after the match.
But Heng knows that at this point, beating Gilas Pilipinas which had an all-pro lineup is still not in the realm of possibility.
Yet he commended his players' efforts who never flinched despite getting outclassed at every facet of the game from the opening tip up to the final buzzer.
"There's no doubt. They are two levels above us but I'm proud of my boys 'cause they never gave up. In terms of size, physicality we totally lost to them," Heng continued, stating that it only took them a month to prepare for this tournament.
The bigger picture for them now is the upcoming Southeast Asian Games in August and the Malaysian mentor is confident that they'll do so much better in that competition after they get the much needed experience in this tournament.
"Most of them do not have experience. But when the SEA Games come, we will play better as a team," he said.
"Long way to go as you can see. Maybe five or six years we can come out (and compete)."