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.
NLEX drops plans to bring back Michael Madanly - May 29, 2016
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No wonder, the Road Warriors are passing up the chance of bringing back sweet-shooting Syrian guard Michel Madanly (194-G-81) as they allow Lanete to develop as the team's upcoming outside gunner. The 35-year-old Michel Madanly served as the Road Warriors' Asian reinforcement for the Governors Cup last season. Last year was the first time the PBA allowed teams to bring in one Asian import to work alongside an American reinforcement. A former top scorer in the FIBA Asia men's championships... [read more]
No wonder, the Road Warriors are passing up the chance of bringing back sweet-shooting Syrian guard Michel Madanly (194-G-81) as they allow Lanete to develop as the team's upcoming outside gunner. The 35-year-old Michel Madanly served as the Road Warriors' Asian reinforcement for the Governors Cup last season. Last year was the first time the PBA allowed teams to bring in one Asian import to work alongside an American reinforcement. A former top scorer in the FIBA Asia men's championships, Michel Madanly averaged 19.7 points, 3.0 rebounds and 2.4 assists in last year's Governors Cup though it couldn't prevent NLEX from finishing 2nd to the last with its 3-8 card. At the moment, NLEX coach Boyet Fernandez already has a short list of American and Asian imports to choose from. Courtesy of: foxsportsasia.com
The Gilas Cadets had another tough outing against host team Thailand, but they used a strong finishing kick to bag the 2016 SEABA Stankovic Cup title. Both teams qualified to play in the 2016 FIBA Asia Challenge, but it was Gilas that was able to bring the bacon home. Scores and Recaps: Day 6 SINGAPORE over MALAYSIA, 68-62 - For the second straight game, Malaysia fell short of beating arch-rival Singapore. The Singaporeans leaned on the 20-point, 16-rebound double-double of big man Delv... [read more]
The Gilas Cadets had another tough outing against host team Thailand, but they used a strong finishing kick to bag the 2016 SEABA Stankovic Cup title. Both teams qualified to play in the 2016 FIBA Asia Challenge, but it was Gilas that was able to bring the bacon home.
Scores and Recaps:
Day 6 SINGAPORE over MALAYSIA, 68-62 - For the second straight game, Malaysia fell short of beating arch-rival Singapore. The Singaporeans leaned on the 20-point, 16-rebound double-double of big man Delvin Goh to prevail and pocket third place. Leon Kwek and Qing Huang Toh backstopped Goh with 13 and 12 markers respectively, while Chee Kheun Ma paced the losing side with 14. This was a great result for Singapore considering they were missing many key players like Wei Long Wong and Desmond Oh.
Line of the Game: Delvin Goh (SG) - 20pts, 16rebs, 5asts, 2stls, 2blks.
GILAS CADETS over THAILAND, 97-80 - Thailand gave the Filipinos a heck of a fight again, but the Pinoys' depth proved to be too much when push came to shove. Not even some key second half adjustments by coach Tim Lewis could permanently turn the tide in favor of the host squad; nevertheless, they showed the region how vastly improved they have been and have really served notice that they have what it takes to beat the Philippines. Chitchai Ananti led the way for Thailand with 19 points, while Theerawat Chanthachon and Attaporn Lertmalaiporn each tallied 11 markers. As for the Gilas Cadets, the duo of Mac Belo and Mike Tolomia delivered the most telling blows in their title-clinching triumph. Belo finished with 14 points for the victors, while fellow FEU alum Tolomia added a dozen. Troy Rosario spearheaded the Pinoy attack with a team-high 17 points, while Jio Jalalon also shone with 16. This result reasserted the country's supremacy in the region, which has seen other teams make leaps in terms of their level of play in recent years.
Line of the Game: Troy Rosario (PHL) - 17pts, 7rebs, 3asts, 2 triples.
The Gilas Cadets barely survived their last elims match-up against hosts Thailand in the 2016 SEABA Stankovic Cup. Gilas had a lot of trouble against a very motivated home team, and they will get to play against each other again in the Final. Malaysia, meanwhile, fell short of beating rival Singapore in the day's first game. Scores and Recaps: Day 5 SINGAPORE over MALAYSIA, 61-55 - Malaysia was in control for much of this game until the Singporeans unfurled an 18-6 finishing kick to pul... [read more]
The Gilas Cadets barely survived their last elims match-up against hosts Thailand in the 2016 SEABA Stankovic Cup. Gilas had a lot of trouble against a very motivated home team, and they will get to play against each other again in the Final. Malaysia, meanwhile, fell short of beating rival Singapore in the day's first game.
Scores and Recaps:
Day 5 SINGAPORE over MALAYSIA, 61-55 - Malaysia was in control for much of this game until the Singporeans unfurled an 18-6 finishing kick to pull the rug from under their foes. Leon Kwek finally broke out for the victors, scoring 15 points to lead Singapore, while John Ng added 11 markers. Delvin Goh also impressed with 9 points, 15 rebounds, and 3 steals. Malaysia, meanwhile, was paced by veteran center Yoong Jing Kwaan and Chee Kheun Ma, who scored 19 and 10 points respectively.
Line of the Game: Delvin Goh (SG) - 9pts, 15rebs, 3stls, 1ast, 4/8 FGs.
GILAS CADETS over THAILAND, 66-65 - Thailand gave the Filipinos all they could handle but ultimately succumbed to the Gilas Cadets. The game didn't have much bearing on the standings, however, as both teams will have a rematch for the tournament crown on Saturday. Gilas led by as many as 11 in this game, but the Thais' energy and outside shooting enabled them to stick with the perennial SEABA champions. The Cadets actually shot atrociously from long range, making just 3 of their 37 three-point tries. The frontline pair of Troy Rosario and Mac Belo led the way for the Pinoys with 20 and 18 points respectively, while Chitchai Ananti paced the home squad with 14 markers. Shooter Nakorn Jainasuk also did well with 12 points, while playmaker Bandit Lakhan dropped 10 off the pine. Thailand's star floor general Kannut Samerjai struggled big time, laying a big fat egg.
Line of the Game: Troy Rosario (PHL) - 18pts, 10rebs, 1ast, 1stl, 1blk.
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