FIBA OQT: Gilas will go at powerhouse Serbia ‘very hard’, Baldwin says

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jun 26 2021 11:46 PM

FIBA OQT: Gilas will go at powerhouse Serbia ‘very hard’, Baldwin says 1

Philippines men's national team head coach Tab Baldwin said his squad is expecting a tough game from world No. 5 Serbia when they meet at the FIBA Olympic qualifiers this week. 

But Baldwin said he is preparing the team to grind it out with the taller, more experienced Serbians for 40 minutes.

"I think we will go at them very hard," Baldwin said in an interview on "The Chasedown." "But I don't think it's anything these players, the level they play at, haven't seen before."

The Serbians, one of the most accomplished teams in the world, are expected to come in motivated after missing out on an outright Olympic slot after failing to make the semifinals of the 2019 FIBA World Cup.

It won back-to-back FIBA World Cup titles in 1998 and 2002 and became a two-time silver medalist at the Olympics (1996 and 2016). 

"I don't think we will rattle the Serbians but we will throw everything we have at them, we're going to try to be as clever as we can," Baldwin said.

"But we have to respect that these players and coaching staff of Serbia have pretty much seen it all. And they're in front of their home fans and it's a big moment for them."

The Serbians will be playing without their NBA stars — newly crowned MVP Nikola Jokic of the Denver Nuggets and Bogdan Bogdanovic of the Atlanta Hawks.

Still they will be fielding a dominant team capable of sweeping the qualifiers.

"This is going to be a possession by possession game, we're going to be hanging in there on every possession to strive to be successful to get a stop, to strive to be successful to get a bucket or an offensive rebound and have a second chance at it," Baldwin said.

"In the end, who knows how games play out? They all have their own once they start but I'm sure we will take many lessons from the game."

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