WITH an aging roster, Qatar is laying out a defensive strategy aimed at taking away the speed of Gilas Pilipinas.
“We know they’re (Gilas) quick and their quickness will give us some problems. We’ve got to prepare for that,” said head coach Tom Wisman after Qatar subdued Jordan, 75-61, yesterday in the Fiba Asia Championship at Mall of Asia Arena.
The Filipinos face the Qataris today in the second round of the Asian championship, which rewards the top three finishers with spots to the 2014 Fiba World Cup in Spain.
Though Qatar’s seasoned players are nearing the twilight of their careers, the reigning Persian Gulf champions have crack personnel led by naturalized forward Jarvis Hayes, the 10th overall pick of the New Jersey Nets in the same 2003 NBA Draft class of LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony and Dwyane Wade.
Backing him up are power forward Yasseen Musa, spot-up shooter Erfan Ali Saeed, 6-foot-9 inside operator Abdullah Mohammed Sal-eem and guard Daoud Daoud. All are over 30.
The Qataris beat the Filipinos last year in the semifinals of the Fiba Asia Cup in Tokyo where the medalists automatically qualified for the Manila Asian championship.
“We’re trying to manage the minutes of our players because we’re not that young anymore,” said Wisman, who coached Japan in the 2011 tournament held in Wuhan, China.
He said they were supposed to bring along Targuy Ngombo, who was drafted by the Minnesota Timberwolves last year, but citizenship issues prevented the crack 6-7 forward from joining the squad.
“He (Ngombo) wasn’t allowed to play, so we’re implementing a system that fits the kind of team that we have,” said Wisman.
In Wuhan, Qatar forfeited all its games after six players of African descent, including Ngombo, were barred from playing.
Counting its two credited victories in the first round, Qatar (3-0) will secure a quarterfinal berth with a victory over Gilas tonight.