Guiao pleased as ‘unselfish’ Asiad-bound PH team clips TNT in tuneup
The Philippine team barely won its only tuneup game before leaving for the Asian Games, slipping past TNT, 78-76, Saturday morning at Moro Lorenzo Sports Center inside the Ateneo campus.
But the narrow win gave national team coach Yeng Guiao plenty of reasons to feel good five days before his side begins its campaign against Kazakhstan.
“I’m actually happy. I’m satisfied. We played a strong team in Talk ‘N Text with their import. We won by two points that’s still good,” a beaming Guiao, whose squad flies to Indonesia Sunday night, told reporters.
“What I saw is in a few days of practice we looked good. There’s chemistry, there’s natural flow of the game,” he added. “The players complement each other in a game situation and we have a few more days to improve so in the three, four days of practice there was development and improvement.”
With half of the team composed of key cogs from Rain or Shine, the Nationals didn’t play like a team with less than a week of practice.
There were little offensive possessions where players just stood around and each man knew where to find others.
In one play in the first quarter, James Yap found a cutting Maverick Ahanmisi, who drew a foul.
“That’s good execution,” Guiao told his bench after the play.
In the second quarter, the ball moved from one side to the other leading to an open basket that gave the Philippine team a 38-28 lead and prompted a TNT timeout.
“We’re moving the ball well. We’re being unselfish,” Guiao told his players during the huddle.
But the good showing doesn’t hide the fact that the team is still far from perfect especially in finishing strong down the stretch.
The Nationals took a 71-60 lead after a top of the key 3-pointer by JP Erram with 5:38 left but the KaTropa battled back, pulling within one possession, 77-76, with 14 seconds left.
Paul Lee had the chance to seal the game at the line but only managed to hit one free throw, leaving the door open for TNT with three seconds remaining.
TNT swingman Roger Pogoy, however, missed a long triple as time ran out.
“There are still a lot to improve on especially in defense but we’ll try to do that once we get there,” Guiao said. “We have a few more days so we’ll try to maximize time and be able to still remedy our flaws.”
“We can be a lot more efficient. We don’t have enough time to prepare but in just a few practices, we showed great teamwork,” he added.
Five players scored at least nine points for the Philippine team led by Paul Lee, Stanley Pringle and Maverick Ahanmish, who had 12 points each. Gabe Norwood and Erram added nine apiece.
“The ball is moving, the guys are looking for each other, they’re helping each other, they’re creating scoring opportunities for each other and that’s a good sign.”
Pogoy led all scorers with 21 points while import Mike Glover tallied 14. Guards Terrence Romeo, Jericho Cruz and Ryan Reyes did not play for TNT.
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