Stay hungry, Chot urges PH
Christian Standhardinger and Carl Cruz, Gilas Pilipinas rookies both, can now bury ugly memories of the first time they got to play Iraq.
And the Philippines, which started out underdogs in the Fiba Asia tournament, can now gun for a sweep of the preliminary round.
Standhardinger and Cruz came up with superb performances in an 84-68 dismantling of Iraq Friday night (Manila time), just three weeks after locking horns with the rugged Iraqis just three weeks before in the Jones Cup.
That win put the Philippines up in Group B with a 2-0 slate after Gilas Pilipinas opened the tournament with a rousing victory over defending champion China.
The Philippines takes on Qatar Sunday eveing at 9 p.m. (Manila time) at Nouhad Nawfal Sports Complex in Beirut, Lebanon, with practically nothing at stake.
But Reyes doesn’t want the Filipinos easing up the pressure on the gas pedal.
“We have to keep the low-key attitude and have the hunger in us,” Reyes told Fiba.com.
Locking up the top spot means Gilas Pilipinas can steer clear of the favorites in the quarterfinals.
Standhardinger and Cruz were both banished from the game—in the 6-foot-7 Filipino-German’s case, the court—for losing their heads in a tempestuous showdown with the Iraqis.
Reyes sent Standhardinger to the locker room and froze Cruz on the bench after both threw cheap shots in retaliation to the physical plays of the Iraqis.
It was a pity for Cruz, who was playing the best game of his Gilas career only to ride the bench when the others were busy with the mop-up job of an 84-75 win.
The two players eventually apologized for their actions.
This time, in Lebanon, Standhardinger joined hands with the amazing Terrence Romeo in helping Gilas Pilipinas peel away from a tight first half and set the stage for a potential sweep of their group.
Cruz, on the other hand, was a steady presence off the bench, knocking down all of his three attempts from three-point territory and finishing with 11 points for Gilas Pilipinas.
It was the best way for the duo to get back at all the cheap shots they and the rest of the team took in that game, and the good thing about it is that they won’t have to apologize for it anymore.
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