Coach: Romeo style restricts Gilas strategy
EXPECT a massive change in Terrence Romeo’s “gunslinger” ways as Gilas Pilipinas strategizes to best fight the opposition in the Fiba Asia Olympic qualifier in Hunan, China, later this month.
And that’s just one of the things the national team would tinker with as they entered complete seclusion yesterday.
The marauding-triggerman style that has endeared the 5-foot-11 point guard to his fans will have to go, according to coach Tab Baldwin, if the Philippines is to win in China and return to the Olympics.
“Terrence is still a gunslinger, and that gets the fans excited,” Baldwin said on the eve of Gilas’ departure for a five-day camp in Cebu.
“But that doesn’t get me excited. I want to win so that people in this country can get the thrill of playing in the Olympics [again].”
Baldwin explained that while Romeo is a great one-on-one player and scorer, the former Far Eastern University ace would have to improve as a point guard to help the team better.
With Jimmy Alapag still down with an injury after being pulled out of retirement, Romeo and Jason Castro are effectively the only point guards left on the roster.
Gabe Norwood and Matt Ganuelas-Rosser are primarily off guards.
“That’s an aspect of [Romeo’s] game that we have to work on,” said the coach.
Baldwin said Gilas is still a long way from achieving victory in China, and he will use the Cebu camp and the first round of Fiba Asia’s group play to get his wards “ready to win.”
“We’re not ready for that yet,” he said, despite the fact that the Nationals have won their last six games, five of them against foreign opposition, in the Jones Cup in Taipei and the recent MVP Cup.
“I am not comfortable, and I don’t want to be comfortable,” he said. “This is a young team in terms of its time together.”
First off, Baldwin and his coaching staff would want to cut down on the errors and achieve more fluidity on both ends during the five-day camp.
“The biggest concern for me [in China] is that there will be very professional teams there,” he said. “Right now, we’re turning the ball over recklessly at times.”
With the Philippines bracketed with relative lightweights Hong Kong, Palestine and Kuwait in the first phase of group action, Baldwin expects the squad to gather all the momentum it needs to fight tenaciously in the crucial stages.
“We should control those games reasonably well, and refine and perfect what we want to do. We want to be dominant in those games.”
The team leaves for China on Sept. 21.