Lebanon coach relishing underdog tag vs Gilas
CHANGSHA CITY, China – Everyone loves the underdog, and the underdogs love the position they’re in.
And Veselin Metic, the Lebanon coach, couldn’t have said it better.
“We’re the underdogs, 100% (against Gilas Pilipinas),” Metic told Filipino scribes late Tuesday after qualifying to the knockout stages of the Fiba Asia Championship here. “Everybody likes it, there’s no pressure. You just have to play.”
Metic and the Lebanese needed to literally win their final game to advance, and now the former coach of Iran said that his squad thrives in moments like this one.
“Now, it is game by game, we came here to play game by game,” Metic said.
Gilas Pilipinas shocked the tournament last week when it chopped down defending champion Iran, 87-73, making most pundits give the Filipinos the edge against any team going into the gold medal match.
But Metic thinks otherwise.
“This (game against the Filipinos) is a good match-up. No Iran, now Philippines,” Metic said. “We can play Philippines, easy, easy.”
Metic also said that they can handle naturalized center Andray Blatche and neutralize the advantage that the former Brooklyn Net in the NBA has.
“We don’t care too much (about Blatche),” he said. “I’m very surprised he’s not in the NBA, but he is now a little out of shape.”
The last time someone said that Blatche was out of shape – an Iranian television reporter – Blatche lit up the Iranians and made Hamed Haddadi struggle all game.
Metic will have a lot of words to back up, and this would provide for an interesting sidelight in a most crucial game on Thursday night.
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