Former national head coach Tab Baldwin knows the Philippines has a tough assignment when it tackles Korea in the quarterfinals of the Asian Games men's basketball tournament in Jakarta Monday.
But the Filipinos, spearheaded by Cleveland Cavaliers guard Jordan Clarkson, nearly beat China 82-80 Tuesday in a game most people expected to be dominated by the taller Chinese team.
"That game (last Tuesday), what can we say? It's a damn shame we didn't hit the last shot. It was a good shot that Paul shot," Baldwin said on ANC's "Game Time" on Wednesday.
"I think we almost deserved to win because of how tough we played a very talented Chinese team."
Baldwin, currently head coach of the Ateneo Blue Eagles, said the Philippines should use the China game as a morale-booster going into the Korea game.
"At the end of the day, you know coach Yeng (Guiao) counts (the China game) as a win. Unfortunately you can't do that, but you can use the performance as fuel to get yourselves in the mindset for the next game, which I believe will be a monster of a game, Korea," he said.
Baldwin is familiar with the lineup Korea is fielding in Jakarta since it is the same squad the Ateneo Blue Eagles battled in the Jones Cup last July.
Using their accuracy from the perimeter, Korea brought down the Blue Eagles, 90-73.
"This is an extremely talented, extremely tough, and well-oiled machine they're going to play in Korea," he said. "Do not underestimate the shooting ability of this team."
But Baldwin said there's one thing the Philippines could learn from Ateneo in their loss to the Korean squad.
"I think the one thing that favored us as an amateur team is that we have immense energy and effort. We were chasing this guys around the court for the whole game," he said.
"I think the closer the Gilas men can play to a 100% energy, the better off we're gonna be against this team."
(For more sports coverage, visit the ABS-CBN Sports website.)