Castro will also turn heads
MANILA, Philippines – Despite being grouped against powerhouse teams, Gilas Pilipinas has a very good chance of registering at least two victories in the 2014 FIBA World Basketball Cup.
Sports columnist Enzo Flojo said the nationals are capable of beating 19th-ranked Puerto Rico and lower ranked Senegal (No. 37) if they play their cards right.
“I think we have a chance against Puerto Rico on a good day. On a good shooting day, we have a good chance against Puerto Rico,” Flojo told TJ Manotoc on Wednesday’s episode of "The Score."
Despite Puerto Rico’s excellent guards like Carlos Arroyo and JJ Barea, Flojo believes local players like Jayson Castro and LA Tenorio can put up a good fight.
“Napaka-exciting to see if they can match Jayson Castro against Barea, Tenorio against Arroyo… it would be a fun match up,” said Flojo.
Flojo added that the Filipino squad can also handle Senegal, which he described as a younger version of the Qatar team that lost to the Philippines in the 2013 FIBA Asia Championship.
“Feeling ko lamang tayo ng konti. I think we have better guards than Senegal,” said the analyst. “If matuloy ang naturalization nina [Javele] McGee and [Andray] Blatche we'll have an advantage on the frontline din.”
The Philippines is also grouped with world’s No. 3 Argentina, No. 5 Greece and No. 16 Croatia.
Flojo said Gilas will have a tough task ahead because they belong to the cluster that includes two top 5 squads.
“We're the only group actually na may dalawang top 5 teams sa buong World Cup, so medyo mahirap talaga,” he cited.
Flojo predicted that speedy guard Castro will again shine at the FIBA Worlds, adding that the 5-foot-11 Talk ‘N Text stalwart might even get an invitation to tryout for an NBA team.
“I think titimbrehan nila si Jayson Castro… Kasi he was a member of the mythical team in FIBA Asia and I think he will perform well,” he said.
“His quickness, his speed is on a different level. I think he will turn a lot of heads even the opposing teams' heads.”