Cold-shooting Philippines turns to defense in win over Qatar
After another rough shooting night, the Philippines found that its best offensive weapon was its defense.
The Filipinos’ offensive struggles continued on Monday, four nights after firing blanks in a loss to Iran.
Only this time, they pulled out the stops to complete a big turnaround and beat Qatar despite making only three out of their 32 tries beyond-the-arc.
“The big difference was these guys really wanted to win and they showed that by the kind of defense that they played. It’s really a commitment to defend,” national team head coach Yeng Guiao said after a 92-81 win played closed-door at Smart Araneta Coliseum.
“It is almost impossible to sustain a 54-percent three-point shooting percentage if you play good defense,” Guiao, whose squad trailed by as much as 17, added.
Guiao was on point.
With the Nationals applying a smothering pressure defense from 94 feet in the second half, the Qataris ended up missing all of their nine attempts from the three-point area after going 7-of-13 in the first two quarters.
The Philippines’ unrelenting defense in the last two quarters also forced Qatar to commit nine turnovers, eight of which off steals.
“We really committed ourselves to playing defense in the third quarter. We had a couple steals leading to easy baskets that gave us confidence,” said big man Beau Belga, who did a little bit of everything collecting 11 points, six rebounds, three assists, a steal and three blocks, in Filipino.
Guiao felt his players’ mindset changed at halftime where Qatar took a 52-39 lead.
“Mentally, everybody was just pushing hard on defense and everybody felt that. Anybody who comes off the bench and will not not put out that same effort would feel ashamed of himself because he sees that all of his teammates were pushing hard,” Guiao said.
“So that’s the mental perspective of everybody that if I have to play for my teammate and I have to play for my country, I cannot put out 99 percent, I have to put out more than 100 percent.”
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