Asian Games: Win over Kazakhstan an ‘answered prayer,’ says Guiao

Camille B. Naredo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Aug 16 2018 03:32 PM | Updated as of Aug 16 2018 06:50 PM

Asian Games: Win over Kazakhstan an ‘answered prayer,’ says Guiao 1
Philippines head coach Yeng Guiao was expecting a "really close" game against Kazakhstan in his team's debut in the 2018 Asian Games. Instead, his players put on an explosive performance in an impressive rout. Camille B. Naredo, ABS-CBN News

JAKARTA—Philippines head coach Yeng Guiao was expecting a "really close" game against Kazakhstan in his team's debut in the 2018 Asian Games. Instead, his players put on an explosive performance in an impressive rout.

With Stanley Pringle firing 18 points, James Yap turning back the clock for a 12-point performance, and Paul Lee catching fire late to finish with 10 markers, the Philippines overpowered Kazakhstan, 96-59, to open their campaign at the Basket Hall at the Gelora Bung Karno sports complex.

The wire-to-wire triumph was a truly sensational performance from the hastily assembled squad, which is now virtually assured of a spot in the quarterfinals of the basketball competition.

“It's answered prayers 'yan ano. Millions of Filipinos were praying for us, and the Lord just blessed us with a really nice win,” Guiao told reporters after their huge victory.

“We expected a really close game, and a rugged, physical game,” said the coach of their match-up against the fourth-placers in the 2014 edition of the Asian Games.

Thanks to the hard work of his assistant coaches, however, the Filipinos easily dismantled the Kazakhs who shot only 30% from the field and bricked 23 of the 28 three-pointers that they put up in the game. Indeed, Kazakhstan managed just one field goal in the entire opening quarter, hanging on only thanks to their free throw shooting (7-of-10).

“The coaching staff did a good job, excellent job actually with the scouting report and the preparation of our defensive schemes,” Guiao explained.

“We were able to disrupt their offense, we were able to challenge their shots. Our anticipation was good and that's because of the scouting that we did and implementation and execution of the game plan,” he said, adding that his assistant coaches were working round-the-clock to prepare for Kazakhstan.

That the players were able to implement their game plan despite an abbreviated preparation time speaks to their mental toughness, the coach also said.

“The guys were mentally tough, they were mentally prepared. We had a very short time to prepare for this tournament, but everything just fell into place today,” Guiao said.

He will bank on that same mindset as the Philippine team turns its attention to China, which they will play on Tuesday. Already, they are set to work on integrating Filipino-American guard Jordan Clarkson to the team, after the NBA player arrived during the third quarter of the contest.

“Ang ia-adjust na lang namin, hahanapin namin 'yung mga games ng China. At titignan namin kung paano naman sila dedepensahan. Magre-revolve doon ngayon 'yung homework namin,” said Guiao.

“We have four days to do our homework. Again, scouting na naman. Yun ang secret namin, kaya namin tinalo ito (Kazakhstan),” he said.

For more sports coverage, visit the ABS-CBN Sports website.