‘Tougher’ Asian Games ahead for PH with China, Kazakhstan likely 1st round foes
The Philippines could be headed for an early showdown with powerhouse China in the Asian Games.
National team head coach Yeng Guiao on Monday night bared a sudden shakeup in the groupings that put the Philippines in the same group as China and Kazakhstan.
The Philippines was initially drawn in a different group along with Iran, Syria and UAE.
“Maybe a little bit of bad news. There’s been changes in the groupings,” Guiao told reporters before national team practice at Meralco gym.
“I was just told a while ago we were originally grouped with Syria, UAE and Iran. With that group, we would’ve had a good chance against Syria at UAE but now, we’re grouped with China at Kazakhstan.”
Guiao said he’s still “not 100 percent sure” if the change in group is final, but if that’s the case, he admitted that it won’t be an easy task for the Philippine team to advance past the preliminary round.
“If this happens, it would be a much tougher fight for us,” Guiao said.
“So we have to beat at least one of them in order to get into the next round. That’s our objective now: How do you beat China and how do you beat Kazakhstan? Only two will get to the next round.”
Guiao believes the Philippines’ best shot at moving on is against Kazakhstan Though, the Kazakhs, who finished fourth in the previous edition of the quadrennial meet, offer a stiff challenge as well.
“Of course, our chances will be best with Kazakhstan, but Kazakhstan is a strong, tall team. They’re athletic. They’re like the Australians. They’re big, they’re quick, they’re shooters,” he said. “China, we all know how strong China is so we have our work cut out for us.”
“One thing we can be sure of is these guys are going to play their best and give everything to make the Filipino basketball fans happy.”
In 2014, the Philippines barely got by Kazakhstan, 67-65, in the second round of the tournament. The Filipinos, however, failed to make the semifinals and were beaten by the Chinese, 78-71, in the classification round to finish in seventh place.