FIBA Asia Cup qualifiers: Why Abarrientos is in awe of Gilas’ win vs Korea

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Posted at Jun 17 2021 09:05 AM

FIBA Asia Cup qualifiers: Why Abarrientos is in awe of Gilas’ win vs Korea 1
RJ Abarrientos says team cohesion and trusting the Tab system were all his teammates needed to complete their comeback victory against the Asian powerhouse. Courtesy of FIBA

Gilas Pilipinas guard RJ Abarrientos was delighted to realize that the team drills came in handy against South Korea.

Abarrientos said this was especially true when they were climbing their way back from a double-digit deficit against the visitors Wednesday night in the FIBA Asia Cup 2021 qualifiers.

"Sobrang speechless ako ngayon kasi unang una, alam lang namin ang result na ginagawa namin sa practice namin is magawa namin sa game. Hindi namin inaasahan sa gitna ng laro," he said.

"Di namin alam nu'ng down ng 18, ginawa lang namin ang system ni coach Tab (Baldwin) na laging naghe-heads up sa mga player off the bench."

He added that the team cohesion also played a big factor in their 81-78 stunner versus their heated Asian rivals.

It would not have been possible without familiarity with his teammates.

"S'yempre malaking factor 'yung connected kami sa isa't isa in defense and offense. Siyempre mas bata kami at mas experienced 'yung Koreans. Importante na buo kami at nag-uusap sa loob ng court," he said.

Abarrientos also gave props to Kai Sotto, who scored 11 points and brought down 7 rebounds in his first game on the Philippines senior men's side.

"Nakikita kong advantage si Kai. 'Yung IQ niya, kung paano siya gamitin ang sarili sa court, sa paghawak ng bola, kung paano makakapagcreate, ganun siya magisip e," he said of the 7-footer.

"Siya ang ginagamit ko sa ball screen lalo sa game sa Korea. Siya lagi ang hinahanap ko kasi nakikita ko ang high IQ niya sa paglalaro talaga ang laki ng inimprove niya individual lalo na sa offense."

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