Ok here we go, starting with thoughts on Qatar:
They play like a bunch of hacked together talents – Which means they are either under coached or have just not had enough time to play together. They do not have any plays and rely mostly on exploiting match ups. Failing that it’s basically excursions by their best player, whoever that may be at the time, which explains why their point guard will occasionally be scoring. This will work in the short term primarily because our PGs are far too small to defend anyone properly, but as with any coach will tell you a driving point guard is a recipe for disaster because it leaves their team open for transition.
The most telling sign of their lack of cooperation is their inability to help their best player get an open shot. At the latter part of the game when they needed points most, Jarvis Hayes was their man. Unfortunately the rest of the Qatar team didn’t seem to see it that way and wouldn’t help him out. There were no diversions, no sets or picks made for him and he had to deal with the long arms of Gabe Norwood or sometimes even multiple defenders, a tall order for any scorer.
QATAR chose the wrong team to run against – A lot of the game was run and gun which worked tremendously to our advantage. If there’s one thing Gilas can do, that is run, and run it did, so when Qatar decided to play that way I was more or less at ease. Our first team can run, our second team can run, and even our often used bigs are no slouches. We even have a big who can not only run, he can fly.
And now Gilas
I am mostly in agreement with Coach Chot. Even when we lost against Taiwan via a tactical error – he rested our hot shooters to get Gary David et al some playing time. David turned out cold in the middle of a Taiwan run allowing them to catch up and eventually take the lead – I would never fault him for that. He tried to stick to an agreed rotation and it just so happened not to have worked out. Win or lose you follow the game plan confident in the idea that it will work out for you eventually. One loss, bitter as it might be, is certainly not enough to judge his whole performance with.
What does seem to need improvement however is:
Our inability to make last second shots – Reggie Miller said he always practices shots with an imaginary countdown going ‘3 – 2 – 1 BUZZER’, and he would have to get a good shot in. Maybe we need to do that, because I think we missed every opportunity at the end of the quarter made available to us.
Our inability to execute an endgame – There was an inbound error with a few seconds left in the game that gave Qatar a shadow of a chance. There is nothing as frustrating to a coach as an unforced error let alone done with the game almost under wraps, and yet there it was unravelling in front of us between Norwood and de Ocampo. I remember an interview where Chot Reyes explained how proud he was that Gilas didn’t run set plays like the previous Gilas did, instead they were just ‘playing ball’. After seeing these guys in action I’ve become a believer, but I’d like to venture the opinion that we still have got to have some sort of structure in crunchtime. Fonacier and Chan can just stand at either side of the court and with their confidence so high the guards can just find a way to get the ball to end up with them and they’ll take care of the rest. It pays that we have such terrific shooters. Oh and speaking of confidence:
Japeth Japeth Japeth! – I feel I am one with the rest of the Philippine basketball loving populace to heave a sigh of relief upon seeing the one player we’ve hinged our high hopes upon to finally, FINALLY blossom from a mere slam dunking sideshow into a legitimate scoring, rebounding and shot blocking threat. And you can tell there’s a lot of angst in the guy, considering he still practices the time honored, almost comical ‘stare – down’ after each dunk.
But let’s give the guy a break. If he’s been waiting as long as we have he deserves every opportunity to scream at his hapless dunked – upon opponents. We’ve all known his defenders were hapless, blessed as he is with his height and athletic ability. The problem was he didn’t seem to know this himself, and would either self destruct or just under perform out there. Last night however, he was playing in position, in rotation, and doing what is expected of him given his ability. Heck if he can just take notes re how Marc Pingris does it I’d be happy. I think this is just the start of an even further blossoming. If he can keep himself steady and his head in the game he can become an even bigger threat. And what I mean when I say that is:
- Don’t try to block every shot, just bother it enough to miss.
- Don’t try to swat each block out to the nose bleed section, block it with the idea of causing a turnover.
- Stop it with the stare downs. Enjoy what you did, have fun, run back to your position on D.
- Don’t enjoy your dunks so much. Do it for the crowd sure, but it’s still just two points. Run back to your position on D.
In other words, keep your head in the game and look out for the W. Aim to be a good, reliable player and everything else will take care of itself.
Ok enough for now I gotta get to work. I will now end this post with a bunch of pics forwarded to me because I just happen to have the blind luck of having been part of a PBA mailing list which sends FIBA updates every game. They are doing a fantastic job so it’s best they receive credit for these: