MANILA, Philippines—Gilas Pilipinas will wrap up its group round campaign in the 30th Southeast Asian Games against Myanmar at Mall of Asia Arena on Saturday, and the Filipinos are not taking it easy against the minnows.
The host nation is already through to the semifinals after beating Singapore and Vietnam in comfortable fashion, and Gilas is highly favored to make it 3-0 against a Myanmar squad that has lost its group round games by an average of 59.5 points.
Game time is at 8:15 p.m.
"Myanmar is not a basketball nation, so their team is not that strong," noted Gilas coach Tim Cone. "We recognize that."
Cone said he wants to make sure that Gilas will not take it lightly against Myanmar, especially heading into the semifinals where the Filipinos anticipate tough games against Indonesia and Thailand.
"We just wanna make sure we go out there and play it right, you know, continue to create good habits because after that we play the semifinals," he explained.
"We still have Indonesia with Rajko Toroman ahead of us and we have most likely Thailand and they’ve been beating up their opponents," he added. "They're very dangerous. We don't want to lose our habits playing against Myanmar and create bad habits going in against Rajko Toroman."
Multi-titled Cone said he also wants to make sure his team respects Myanmar.
"We're also not gonna try to run up the score (Saturday)," Cone said. "We're not gonna try to impress anybody."
"Again, we wanna respect our opponents. We wanna go out there and play hard, but we also don’t want to embarrass anybody, so we’re gonna be cognizant of that," he added.
The Philippines crushed Myanmar 95-42 in the 2017 SEA Games in Kuala Lumpur. Earlier that year, a full-strength Gilas squad trounced the same side 147-40 in the SEABA Championship in Manila.
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