Caidic: Gilas may upset OQT foes
ALLAN Caidic, one of the best offensive players the Philippines has produced internationally, believes that the key for Gilas Pilipinas in the coming Olympic Qualifying Tournament (OQT) is for the Filipinos to continue “to just enjoy the game.”
Caidic, who was a part of the first three all-pro teams that played in the Asian Games, sees Gilas as capable of posting upsets if it plays with the nothing-to-lose mentality like it did in the World Cup in Spain in 2014.
“No one expected us to contend in Spain. No one expected our games to be close there,” Caidic told the Inquirer over the phone yesterday. “And you know why? Because everyone in the team knew that we had nothing to lose, and that worked to our advantage.
“The pressure is on all of those who we play against,” added the left-handed PBA All-Time Great. “Our players should just go out there and enjoy the game, enjoy the crowd.”
Manila will host one of three qualifying legs with the champion here to gain a berth in the Rio de Janeiro Olympics slated in August.
Caidic, whose first Asian Games inclusion happened when he was still an amateur in 1986, is following the development of Gilas 4.0 very closely and acknowledges that this batch of National team members will be playing foes that belong to a different level.
France and New Zealand will be the Philippines’ assignments in the first round and the Filipinos would need to beat at least one of them to make the Final Four.
“They (French and Kiwis) are big teams, but my experience internationally, and from what we saw in Spain (in the World Cup) show that big players find playing smaller opponents difficult at times,” Caidic said.
“We need our quickness and our outside shooting,” Caidic said.
The former Ginebra San Miguel coach in the PBA said that it was a pity that Paul Lee begged off from the team because of a knee injury. Lee, Caidic said, would have been a great asset because of his ability to create and to hit long jumpers. But Gilas is in good hands as far as outside shooting goes with Marcio Lassiter and a healthy Jeff Chan.
Caidic was also a part of the defunct Northern Consolidated program that had two naturalized players in Jeff Moore and Dennis Still in the early 1980s.
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