The Powerade- Team Pilipinas’ game against Korea at the FIBA- Asia Qualifiers in China proved once again that unlike the Filipinos, the Koreans’ game have evolved into an even more potent one through the years.
And together with China, they will always be in our way, both formidable walls to scale towards our dream of regaining the Philippines past glory and the respect that goes with it in Asian Basketball.
And yes, they will always be there like a recurring nightmare, always capable of breaking the hearts of the Filipino basketball fans. It's tough but we just really can’t beat the bug from the time of the legendary Shin Dong Pa to the Busan Asian Games and now recently in Tianjin.
While the Koreans used to rely heavily on their outside bombs, they have now evolved into a more complete basketball team with both outside and inside threats. They are mobile, athletic and deadly whether behind the arc or inside the paint. They now have the capability to run the open court coupled with a reliably good defense to boot. They are also very rugged and physical, in fact, more than the Chinese if I may say and plays the game with a lot of heart and passion.
But the Koreans are beatable if we have the proper system in place. That is, a game plan suited for international basketball. The Powerade- Team Pilipinas is not the best team that we could have assembled for Tianjin yet they gave the Koreans all that they could handle and were even still in the hunt with less than 5 minutes of the game.
The Filipinos lacked cohesion and most of the time appeared to be lost on the hardcourt. Despite the numerous setbacks in the past, we are still very stubborn with our beliefs that the American style of play will bail us out in the end.
Obviously, Coach Yeng Guiao’s philosophy is not the right one in this kind of tournament. The way he shuffled his men were atrocious; it was obvious that there were no decent offensive set plays in place and no proper defensive adjustments were made at crunch time.
Another problem is, there is no go-to-guy during crunch time for the Powerade team. And the team lacked a real good point guard (e.g. Jimmy Alapag) and a consistent shooter (e.g. Ren- Ren Ritualo) that can hit the outside shot on any given time. Unlike in the PBA where they were relegated to the bench, pure shooters are always an integral part of any international team and rapid ball movement is always a must.
Also a team built on a rah-rah kind of philosophy maybe entertaining but it will not win ball games here. Sure, they have the fancy moves and dribbling wizardry but that’s it; more on form but lacking in substance, if you ask me. When the taller Koreans clogged the lanes, the fast breaking Filipinos were lost. They can’t even execute a proper pick and roll. And those who were given the license to shoot to open up the defense kept on producing bricks.
There were only three players who really showed up in the game. Mick Pennisi held his ground against the behemoths and Asi Taulava was a work horse despite the lack of stamina. Cyrus Baguio was a an energizer and a blur on the open court.
But the rest of the team needs to step up in order for the Philippines to advance in the next round or have a decent finish. They should always give their all and fight like there is no tomorrow.
And most of all, move the ball well to find the open man and of course, less dribbling will be a very good way to start.