FIBA WC: Longer international exposure better for Gilas Pilipinas, says Guiao
Although Gilas Pilipinas has already been eliminated in Group D of the 2019 FIBA World Cup, head coach Yeng Guiao looks forward to playing in the 17th-32nd classification round for a couple of reasons.
One is that the Philippines still has a slim shot to advance to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics outright as the highest-placed Asian team should they have a good standing at the end of the tournament.
The 2nd goal is to “immerse” the squad even more in international competition for better results in the future.
“We’re getting better and we’re able, I guess, to get used to this kind of (world-level) competition. This is really different from PBA basketball, different from Asian basketball so I think it’s the immersion; we just need to immerse. The longer we play in this situation, the better we get and that’s something we didn’t have coming to China.”
Gilas will face Tunisia and Iran in the classification round. Iran has been a continental rival, although lately, the nationals have had the better of the West Asian side.
Tunisia could be a more challenging match-up for Gilas, as the African side has competed in the World Cup more times in the century and has an NBA mainstay in Salah Mejri.
Nevertheless, the squad aims to match the level of play of their remaining counterparts.
“That (Olympic slot) is very much a part of our motivation and we go to Beijing with that in mind now.”
“Going to Beijing, we’re looking forward to playing teams that might be around our level of play.”