MANILA, Philippines – Gilas Pilipinas may have beaten Kazakhstan in a tune-up game but this doesn’t mean the Kazakhs are pushovers.
In fact, experts said the Nationals will have to be wary of Kazakhstan’s physical play when they meet Friday night at the FIBA Asia championship quarterfinal.
“Kazakhstan is unorthodox,” said Gilas assistant coach Jong Uichico in the PBA website.
“And we have to stand their physicality. It’s hard to match because it’s not our game. We just have to raise a little the level of our physicality,” he added.
“More physicality, and we might lose our game. We just have to be tough.”
Derrick Pumaren, who served as a consultant to the Hong Kong team, believes Gilas Pilipinas can match the bigger Kazakhs.
However, he said the Filipinos will need to play with more aggression and urgency.
“I think we’re up there match-up wise. But we have to come out with a lot of energy and set the tone right away. We can’t come out flat,” he said.
“It’s more of the approach. Hopefully, they don’t take Kazakhstan lightly. They beat them in a tune-up match but this is a totally different game,” Pumaren added.
The Nationals will have to beat Kazakhstan to advance to the semifinal where they will face the winner between Qatar and South Korea.
Gilas Pilipinas is seeking at least a top three finish in the FIBA contest to gain a ticket to the World Basketball Cup 2014 in Spain.