Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Fiba Asia Championships: Smart Gilas stuns Japan

Hahaha. I just have to laugh since I read several posters from different Filipino forums that the Smart-Gilas cannot keep up with the gritty Hapons. You are all wrong. Just a few hours ago we gave Japan a reality check. They are good but not as good as our very own Gilas. No wonder why FIBA Asia deputy secretary general Hagop Khajirian is so scared of the Philippines. Seeing how the Gilas dismantle Jordan   and Japan would definitely give him some nightmares. It will be poetic justice if the one that eliminates Lebanon in the Olympic qualifiers would be our very own Smart Gilas.

The Philippines is now a marked team. Teams on the other group would like to avoid the Pinoys like a plague. The Gilas though should not be not complacent. They still have to beat Syria for a favorable ranking in their group. Coach Rajko Toroman should keep the squad sharp in the bigger battles ahead.

Some key stats on observations in the Philippines vs. Japan game:

  1. Aguilar and Baracael incurred a DNP (Did not play) - Coach's decision. Kelly Williams has solidified his hold of the No.4 spot. In 28 minutes of play, Kelly had 12 points from an amazing 6 of 8 shooting clip. Aguilar and Baracael should take notes from this PBA star.
  2. Inside Dominance of the Philippines. Despite benching Aguilar and Baracael plus Asi's 3 minute cameo appearance. The Pilipinas Smart-Gilas outscored Japan inside 52-20 and they had 19 second-chance points against Japan's 8. The Gilas had 44-31 rebound edge. The game somehow exposed Japan's kinks in their armor. Marcus Douthit, Williams, Marcio Lassiter and company shot 56% in 2 point range. They limited Japan to a measly 39% shooting (just 41% in the 2 point area).
  3. 3-Point shooting and perimeter defense need improvement. The Gilas were just 5/15 in the 3 point region. Alapag though was stellar with a 3/5 clip. The rest shot only 2/10. Japan made 12 3's at a 36% rate. Joji Takeuchi is really good at 4/8. Kenta was 3/5 and the other Takeucho was 2/3. The Gilas should not let teams shoot at will outside. There was also an instance late in the game when Chris Tiu fouled a 3pt shooter. It's time for Gilas to learn from this game to prevent a repeat how Korea broke our hearts in an Asian Games semifinals. I don't like to see the likes of Tiu and Lassiter crying ala Hontiveros and Racela. 
  4. FT shooting will be a major factor. One of the major reasons why the Japanese lost is that they only made 16/28 free throws while the Gilas only missed 5 of 17 shots. As the games get tougher, fouls will be more frequent and the Pinoys should maintain a 70% clip at the minimum.
  5. Never say die attitude. I like the way the Gilas fight back from double digit deficits and eventually win. They are like becoming a Ginebra San Miguel when it comes to come backs. They have to avoid lulls in offense like when they allowed Japan to make a 15 to nothing run against them. They also have to develop a killer instinct to finish off an opponent and never give them a way back into the game.
Congratulations Gilas! The blog will continue to root for you! I believe...!

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