I have to admit, I feel my heart break ever so slightly every time I see news of the Gilas boys being defeated. Ive been a close follower and ardent supporter of the Philippine NT ever since I first watched the San Miguel-centric, Norman Black-coached, National Team lose a close one to the hometown Japanese in the bronze medal game of the 1994 Asian Games.
Now, nearly 20 years later, each loss still stings with the same poignancy.
On the flipside, however, is the fact that each setback also brings with it some lessons the team can use to get better. What follows are reposts of well-written articles by my fellow writer, Mr. Jude Roque, from Yahoo! Philippines. These posts detail the painful learnings our Gilas boys learned from their last two losses in the 2013 Dubai International Basketball tourney.
Al-Ahli Club (UAE) over SMART-Gilas Pilpinas, 97-82 No less than Smart Gilas Pilipinas head coach Chot Reyes was the first to see the brighter side of the young national teams defeat 82-97 loss to home team Al-Ahli Club last Saturday here at the 24th Dubai International Basketball Championship.
We can learn a lot from this loss, which will help us in the more important games, said Reyes, who mysteriously lost his voice during the first quarter of the game. He had to write some key instructions on the coaching board during timeouts. After an inspiring 79-77 victory over the third best club team in Lebanon, Mouttahed Tripoli, the national squad composed of mostly amateur standouts, got its baptism of fire in international competition when it faced a very aggressive Emirates team. Al-Ahli won the Dubai Club Championship and is beefed up by American imports Cheikh Samb, Leroy Hurd and Leemire Goldwire.
This was the first time Gilas II played against a home team even when the venue was filled with cheering Pinoys.
Right from the get-go, Al Ahli surprised the young nationals with a pesky full-court press that resulted in 11 turnovers for Gilas in the first period alone. Al Ahli was up 26-18 after the first ten minutes. It was the first time that this team, which was assembled in less than two months, encountered a pressing team. Before the Dubai trip, the team only had a couple of tune-up games versus the visiting KL Dragons from Malaysia.
The trend continued in the second canto as Al Ahli went to its switching defense and aggressively denied all passing lanes. This too was a first time for the Gilas cadet team. Even PBA reinforcements KG Canaleta, Ronjay Buenafe and JayR Reyes, and naturalized import Marcus Douthit, struggled against the pesky defense of their opponents. The first half ended with the home team up, 51-32.
In the third period, Gilas went inside after going 4 out of 16 from beyond the arc in the first half. Douthit, Greg Slaughter and Canaleta were able to get some inside points to bridge the gap a little bit in the middle of the third. But 72 Al Ahli import Samb was an imposing figure in the middle, igniting several fast break opportunities for Al Ahli.
In the payoff quarter, Gilas went to its running game and tried to stage a late comeback, but Hurd and Goldwire would repeatedly quell the Philippines rally with hard-earned baskets. There were also some bum calls made by the referees against the visiting squad especially during the attempted comeback.
In the end, Gilas committed 24 turnovers that accounted for 24 points for Al Ahli. The victors also had 15 steals.
Gilas will still enter the quarterfinals despite the loss, and can possibly even top Group B if it defeats Al Riyadi of Jordan tonight. Mouttahed, the team Gilas beat last Friday, won over Al Riyadi Sunday, 81-76. Al Ahli lost to Al Riyadi on opening day.
Here are some valuable lessons from the loss to Al Ahli:
Playing under the spotlight. It seems that the newly formed cadet team succumbs to game jitters in the early goings especially when greeted by the loud and cheering crowd upon entering the court. In the Mouttahed game, Gilas fell behind, 3-18, in the opening period before catching fire in the second quarter to take a 41-40 lead. It was similar in the Al Ahli game except that Gilas turned over the ball too many times to catch its opponents. But this is understandable in the first few games. They should be able to handle this better in the next game.
Playing on hostile grounds. It was not really a home advantage for Al Ahli in terms of crowd support. In fact, it was the exact opposite. Filipinos make up the biggest crowd in this annual joust, which is why the Philippines gets invited regularly. But the unfamiliarity with the gym and the international game has its effects on the team. The officiating is different here from the PBA, D-League, and collegiate leagues in Manila even when they are all guided by the FIBA rules. Here, the officials are not intimidated by the players and coaches whom they see for the first time.
Playing against bigger opponents. In most cases, the Philippines will be the smaller team against teams from East and West Asia. Here in this tournament, the size disadvantage is further enhanced with the presence of towering imports like Samb. Al Riyadi of Lebanon likewise has 72 import Lauren Woods. Domestic players, especially from Lebanon, Jordan, Qatar and Iran, are not only tall, but hefty as well. Quickness, however, should be our advantage.
Playing everyday. In international competitions, games are played daily. These are usually short tournaments that last for a week, or two at most. This means that the team must get accustomed to playing everyday while still having the morning shoot-around and practice. Playing for flag and country is a tough job that allows very little rest.
But having stayed with this batch of Gilas for five days now, I have no doubt that the bitter taste of the defeat to Al Ahli will only make them stronger and more prepared for the coming crucial games.
Al-Riyadi Sporting Aramex (Jordan) over SMART-Gilas Pilipinas, 75-65 The Smart-Gilas Pilipinas cadet team suffered a second straight loss in the 24th Dubai International Basketball Championship at the Al Ahli gym in Dubai Monday, this time at the hands of Al Riyadi Jordan, 65-75.
The younger and smaller Philippine team fought gallantly throughout the game and had several chances to overtake the Jordanian club team in the game. But the dynamic duo of American imports Alpha Bangura and Darrin Dorsey proved too much for Gilas, which fell to third spot in Group B. Bangura, a former PBA import from Air 21, scattered 14 of his game-high 31 markers in the payoff period, dousing the attempted rally of Gilas late in the game.
But the Nationals are still in contention for the championship as they enter the quarterfinals versus the No. 1 club team in Lebanon Dubai Duty Free Al Riyadi Beirut, at 7:00 p.m. Dubai time.
Letran star Kevin Alas led Gilas in scoring with 12 points, followed by Matt Ganuelas with 11, Garvo Lanete with 10, and Marcus Douthit and Ronjay Buenafe with six apiece.
Riyadi led by as many as 15 points, at 59-44, in the fourth quarter. Gilas made a last ditch effort to make a comeback in the last five minutes of play and came to within six points, at 57-63, on four straight free throws by Douthit. But the Jordanians countered with a 6-0 blast to secure the win.
All teams will have a rest day today as the quarterfinals start on Wednesday at the Al Ahli gym.
Coach Chot Reyes met the team in his hotel room an hour after the game and talked about how each player should find the drive to uplift his game. The team will have a field trip to the desert safari later today as a team-building activity.
Al Thornton (ex NLEX RW) could sign at Moutahed - 6 hours ago
follow us on
Al Moutahed Tripoli (Pepsi LBL) is about to tab 33-year old American forward Al Thornton (203-97kg-83, college: Florida State) who played last time at NLEX Road Warriors in Philippines. In 12 PBA games he was second best scorer with impressive 36.1ppg and recorded 12.2rpg (#4 in the league) and 2.5apg last season. In 2007 Thornton was drafted by Los Angeles Clippers (NBA) in first round (14th overall). The former Florida State standout is in his tenth season in pro basketball. Thornton re... [read more]
Al Moutahed Tripoli (Pepsi LBL) is about to tab 33-year old American forward Al Thornton (203-97kg-83, college: Florida State) who played last time at NLEX Road Warriors in Philippines. In 12 PBA games he was second best scorer with impressive 36.1ppg and recorded 12.2rpg (#4 in the league) and 2.5apg last season. In 2007 Thornton was drafted by Los Angeles Clippers (NBA) in first round (14th overall). The former Florida State standoutis in his tenth season in pro basketball. Thornton received Asia-Basket.com All-William Jones Cup 1st Team award in 2016. And here thanks to pro basketball he experienced life on three different continents. He is familiar with Asian, Latin American and of course North American leagues. Thornton has played previously professionally in China (Zhejiang Guangsha Lions), Puerto Rico (Brujos) and NBA (Golden State Warriors, LA Clippers and Washington Wizards). Let's have closer look into His outlook:
(by Matthew Maurer for NBADraft.net in 2007)
Physically Thornton is a jaw dropper type of athlete. Because of the high energy level and aggressiveness Thornton plays with, he draws a good number of fouls from opposing players. Does a great job of getting rebounds out of position thanks to his leaping ability and foot speed. Runs the court like a guard. Is a threat in transition where he is a tremendous finisher. Loves to face-up the opposing defender and blow by them using his length and explosive first step.
Ball handling ability is satisfactory at the collegiate level but will clearly need to be refined as he is prone to turnovers. Defensively while he is a adequate shot blocker, he still bites too often on pump fakes.
Blatche re-signs at Xinjiang Flying Tigers - 12 hours ago
follow us on
Xinjiang Flying Tigers (CBA) confirmed in their roster 30-year old American (has also Filipino passport) power forward Andray Blatche (211-112kg-86). He has played there for the last two seasons. In 42 CBA games he had very impressive stats: 23.3ppg, 10.4rpg, 4.0apg and 2.2spg last season. Blatche helped them to make it to the semifinals. Quite impressive season as he was named to Asia-Basket.com All-Chinese CBA 2nd Team. In 2005 he was drafted by Washington Wizards (NBA) in second round... [read more]
Xinjiang Flying Tigers (CBA) confirmed in their roster 30-year old American (has also Filipino passport) power forward Andray Blatche (211-112kg-86). He has played there for the last two seasons. In 42 CBA games he had very impressive stats: 23.3ppg, 10.4rpg, 4.0apg and 2.2spg last season. Blatche helped them to make it to the semifinals. Quite impressive season as he was named to Asia-Basket.com All-Chinese CBA 2nd Team. In 2005 he was drafted by Washington Wizards (NBA) in second round (49th overall). Blatche represented Philippines at the Asian Championships in Changsha-Hunan (China) last year. His team won Silver and his stats at that event were 9 games: Score-5 (17.8ppg), 9.2rpg, 1.2apg, 1.4spg, 1.1bpg, FGP: 51.5%, 3PT: 24.2%, FT: 70.6%. Blatche has played also professionally in USA, NBA (Brooklyn Nets) and D-League (Roanoke D.). He could be described:
Andray Blatche is a long and thin big man with good ball and shooting skills. While he runs with a bit of a deliberate gait and looks more athletic than he actually is, Blatche is a skilled post player with considerable upside.
Arizona Reid (ex SM Beermen) joins Urartu Yerevan - 2 days ago
follow us on
BC Urartu Yerevan (Superleague 1) agreed terms with 30-year old American forward Arizona Reid (196-86, college: High Point). He played last summer at SM Beermen in Filipino PBA league. In 6 games he had very impressive stats: 34.7ppg, 11.2rpg, 4.5apg and 1.7spg. The last season he played at Pilipinas Agilas in Filipino league. In 15 ASEAN League games he was the best scorer with high stats: 24.3ppg and averaged 10.0rpg, 3.3apg (top 5) and 1.2spg. Quite impressive season as he was named to... [read more]
BC Urartu Yerevan (Superleague 1) agreed terms with 30-year old American forward Arizona Reid (196-86, college: High Point). He played last summer at SM Beermen in Filipino PBA league. In 6 games he had very impressive stats: 34.7ppg, 11.2rpg, 4.5apg and 1.7spg. The last season he played at Pilipinas Agilas in Filipino league. In 15 ASEAN League games he was the best scorer with high stats: 24.3ppg and averaged 10.0rpg, 3.3apg (top 5) and 1.2spg. Quite impressive season as he was named to Asia-Basket.com All-ASEAN League 2nd Team. The list of the past achievements is quite long as among others Reid won PBA Governor's Cup championship title in 2015. He was also voted Eurobasket.com All-Belgian League Import Player of the Year in 2015. Reid is quite experienced player. His career allowed him to visit three different continents, while he played in ten different countries. Reid tasted the life as pro basketball player in Europe, Asia and of course North America. He has played previously professionally also in Australia, Finland, Germany (Mitteldeutscher BC), Italy (Openjobmetis VA), Lebanon (Al Riyadi and Antranik), Saudi Arabia (Al Nahda), Switzerland (Fribourg and Monthey), Ukraine (Cherkasy) and Belgium (VOO Verviers-Pepinster). Reid attended High Point University until 2008 and it will be his ninth season as a professional player. On Reid:
A very versatile player, who can spend time in the 2, 3 and even the 4 position. He' s very athletic and can score from outside and inside. Thanks to his timing and leaping ability, he is also a very good rebounder for his size.
Copyright (c) 1998-2016 Eurobasket Inc. Disclaimer
Do not copy, redistribute, publish or otherwise exploit information that you download from the site !
Do not encumber, license, modify, publish, sell, transfer or transmit, or in any way exploit, any of the
content of the site, nor will you attempt to do so.