Tough task for Gilas as it clashes with emerging power Japan | Inquirer Sports

Tough task for Gilas as it clashes with emerging power Japan

/ 04:20 AM July 19, 2022

Kiefer Ravena Gilas Pilipinas

Kiefer Ravena. Photo by Fiba

Gilas Pilipinas’ 92-75 loss to New Zealand late Sunday night in the Fiba (International Basketball Federation) Asia Cup has put the Nationals into quite a bind.

In order to fulfill program director and coach Chot Reyes’ modest goal of finishing in the Top 8, Gilas will now have to tackle an enemy that has become dangerous in recent years.

The Philippines (1-2) battles Japan (2-1) on Tuesday, in a yet-to-be-determined time at Istora Senayan in Jakarta, Indonesia, and the Nationals are bracing for an Akatsuki Five that’s entirely different from the ones it has handily defeated many times in the past.


“We talked about [the New Zealand game] briefly in the dugout,” Reyes said. “We said we have to forget this game because the next team we’re playing plays a completely different type of ballgame.”

“We told the players that they have to get rest because we will be needing a lot of energy and all of our quickness to stay with Japan,” he went on.

Japan has emerged as the most efficient team in the 16-nation showcase. The Akatsuki Five has been scoring so well that it leads the standings in most points scored with 97.7 throughout the group phase.

The Japanese are also leading the tournament in steals (12.3) and assists (24.7), which lends credence to Reyes’ cautiousness.


All those numbers, coupled with the fact that Japan is bannered by Toronto Raptor Yuta Watanabe, should pose some problems for the Filipinos.

Gilas, for its part, is not going into the you-or-me contest a disjointed bunch. Sunday’s losing effort against the Tall Blacks, if anything, showed that the Nationals can play almost an error-free game.


“It is amazing that we had one turnover the whole game,” skipper Kiefer Ravena said. “We were not able to capitalize on our almost-perfect, no-turnover game.” INQ

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TAGS: Basketball, Gilas Pilipinas, Sports

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