Its percentage from long distance hasn’t looked good for Gilas Pilipinas in the preliminary qualifying stage for the 2019 FIBA World Cup.
If coach Chot Reyes and his crew hope to stay competitive against Australia on Monday, their conversion rate needs to improve drastically.
“We gotta be more on the mark in our outside shooting,” Reyes said Friday night as he looked ahead to his team’s faceoff with the Boomers at Philippine Arena in Bulacan.
“With Australia's size and power inside, we've got to be able to loosen up their interior defense with some great outside shooting.”
To get to “great,” though, Gilas needs to reach decent first.
In 5 games so far, the Philippines is shooting just 31.2% (35 of 112). Australia, meanwhile, is hitting 37.3% from downtown (44 of 118).
In the 2 teams’ first meeting in Melbourne in February, an 84-68 win by Australia, the Boomers struggled scoring from behind the arc in the first half, part of the reason why the Filipinos kept in step with them early.
Gilas made 3 of its first 7 3-point attempts, as the Filipinos forced a 19-all score at the end of the first quarter. Reyes and co. couldn’t sustain that clip, though, going just 2 of 12 the rest of the way.
When the Australians found their range, Gilas was forced to extend its defense to the perimeter thereby opening up the floor for drives and higher-percentage shots, leading to the lopsided win.
In that loss, the Philippines shot 26.3% from long distance (5 of 19) and an unacceptable 36.8% from the foul line (7 of 19).
Australia, meanwhile, shot 33% from 3-point territory (7 of 21) and 78% of its free throws (25 of 32).
If Gilas’ win over Chinese-Taipei is any indication, the Philippines might be getting into a shooting groove.
The Filipinos shot 38% (8 of 21) from 3-point territory, a marked improvement from its current average.
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