Gilas banking on the comfort of home after tough loss against the Boomers
Paul Lintag on Feb 22, 2018 08:15 PM
After the Boomers a worthy challenge in Melbourne, Gilas Pilipinas can lick its wounds and bounce back at home against Japan. (Photo courtesy of FIBA).
If moral victories still count for Gilas Pilipinas, then the Australia game in the 2019 FIBA World Cup Asian Qualifiers Thursday was a huge moral victory for the Philippines.
Before falling late in the second half, Gilas Pilipinas engaged the reigning Asian champions in a dogfight, even taking a five-point lead against the Boomers.
The Philippines lost by 16 points.
For what it's worth, the national team made good account of themselves in Melbourne.
"We cant complain on [our] effort. Our game could've been better but our effort is there," head coach Chot Reyes said.
"We thought at least we've accounted well for ourselves to compete against this Boomers squad," he added.
The focus now shifts to Gilas' hosting of Japan in three days.
It is imperative for the national team to handle its business at home. Doing that means that Gilas is one step closer to the next round and in essense, one step closer to a return trip to the World Cup.
And that's the goal at the end of the day.
"All we wanted to do is to compete. And I felt we were able to do that, we competed, we competed hard," Reyes said.
"But it's hard coming to the games when you're also thinking of the next game, that was in the back of my mind. As much as we want to go all out for the victory, we also had to make sure we're managing our minutes because we know we're gonna need fresh legs when we play Japan," he added.
While Gilas is the home team Sunday against the Akatsuki Five, the Philippines will have a longer travel time compared to the Japanese.
"They're just coming from Tokyo, which is a three-hour flight as against ours," Reyes said, talking about the Japanese.
"The good thing is we'll be playing at home and we're hoping to get adrenaline from the home crowd to compensate for the fatigue," he added.
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