(GBK Basketball Hall)
10 a.m. – Philippines vs Korea
OUT TO BREAK THE CURSE
Our team’s main focus is to play the game and stick to our game plan
JAKARTA, Indonesia – Gilas Pilipinas, a team assembled at the 11th hour, is finally ready.
Head coach Yeng Guiao presided over a light practice before formally declaring readiness to battle Korea in the quarterfinals of the men’s basketball competition of the 18th Asian Games Monday at the GBK Basketball Hall here.
Guiao said all kinks have been ironed out and the Filipino dribblers are tipped to go all out against the Koreans in their 10 a.m. (11 a.m. in Manila) encounter.
The game will be very special for the Nationals, now known as the Gilastopainters.
The Philippines has yet to beat Korea in the Asian Games in 56 years, with the last coming in 1962 also in this bustling Indonesian metropolis.
Since then, the Koreans dealt the Filipinos a lot of heartaches, including the memorable prayer of a basket by Lee Sang Min in the Busan Asiad in 2002.
Guiao refused to make any promise but stressed that they are ready to break that curse.
“This is our last day of preparation. Tomorrow is the big game. So, we just wanted the guys to focus, we just wanted them to concentrate on the job at hand,” Guiao told Daily Tribune’s Asiad coverage supported by Primehomes, following a two-hour training session at The Hawk Basketball at Expindo Center, which is more than an hour away from downtown Jakarta.
“Everything went well and we are ready as we can be.”
“There are no more loose ends. Everything was already taken up today and the film-viewing session was held before practice. We already took up everything. If there would be adjustments, it would all be game time adjustments and will all depend on how they (Koreans) will play.”
The Gilastopainters look ready to go.
National Basketball Association (NBA) standout Jordan Clarkson seems fully adjusted and had already put the issue of his late-game cramps behind.
Other key players like Christian Standhardinger, Stanley Pringle, James Yap, Paul Lee and Beau Belga also appeared to be in great shape in what seems like the calm before the storm.
“They are ready mentally. We don’t have any problem with that,” said Guiao, adding that Clarkson, who used to play with NBA future Hall of Famers Kobe Bryant and LeBron James, will finally be unleashed after more than week of training.
“I feel that he’s now more comfortable with his teammates. I feel that he’s now more comfortable with the international style of play. He picks up really well. As I’ve said, his efficiency will increase from the China game to this Korea game.”
There are no more loose ends. Everything was already taken up.
“I think we can see better cohesion, better chemistry with his teammates and better efficiency in terms of percentages.”
What concern Guiao, however, are the Koreans.
He said the reigning champions transformed from good to great due to the presence of a wide-bodied rebounder in naturalized player Ricardo Ratliffe.
Ratliffe is no stranger to the Gilastopainters.
He used to play with Yap and Lee in the Philippine Basketball Association and met Clarkson at University of Missouri before going undrafted in the NBA Draft.
Guiao said the best way to stop the Koreans is to tire him out while containing their army of shooters.
“It’s even,” he said, referring to their chances of winning over Korea.
“We only have two problems: Their three-point shooting and Ratliffe. We’re hoping that the game we prepared is enough to counter both of those. We really wouldn’t know it until we play the game.”
Korean coach Hur Jae said they will be ready for the Filipinos as well.
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