MANILA, Philippines – For former basketball player Freddie Webb, Gilas Pilipinas’ outside shooting should click if the national team hopes to succeed in the upcoming FIBA World Cup of Basketball.
Since it has the smallest line-up in the upcoming tournament, Gilas should use its speed and marksmanship against their taller opponents, Webb said in an interview with ABS-CBNnews.com.
“The only way for the Philippine team to win is if we shoot well from the outside,” he said. “If we shoot 60 percent of our shots from the outside, panalo tayo. Kahit sabihin mo ‘yung malalakas na koponan ang kalaban. Eh 'di lalo na kung mahina ang kalaban.”
Webb played for the YCO Painters in the Manila Industrial and Commercial Athletic Association (MICAA) and for the Tanduay Rhum Makers in the Philippine Basketball Association.
He was also part of the Philippine team that qualified and competed in the 1972 Munich Olympics, so he knows how it feels to be pitted against teams with much taller players.
“Of course, napakamahirap manalo kapag ganun na ang aming pinakamalaking player ay 6-foot-4 tapos ‘yung lalaban ka sa mga player na 6-9, 6-10, 7-footers. Talagang hirap na hirap kami,” Webb said.
This is why Webb feels it is critical for Gilas’ gunners like LA Tenorio, Jimmy Alapag, Jeffrei Chan and Paul Lee to find their mark when they battle Group B teams Argentina, Senegal, Croatia, Puerto Rico and Greece.
“Kailangan ‘yung mga tirador natin, 'yung ating mga sharp shooters, bumanat ‘yan sa mga sweet spots. [If that happens] I think we have a very good chance,” said Webb. “I tell you, we'll pull a lot of surprises.”
Meanwhile, Webb said Andray Blatche might be the key for the nationals to win games in the FIBA Worlds and the Asian Games as Blatche’s presence in the paint could give Gilas several openings in the perimeter area.
“I tell you, he's the missing link,” said Webb. “Ito ay sanay sa banggaan, at mas malaki kay [Marcus] Douthit. His experience in basketball in the NBA, we need that push.”