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.
Danny Trapp left JNE BSC Bandung Utama - 2 days ago
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Experienced 34-year old American (has also Filipino passport) guard Danny Trapp (186-83, college: W.Oklahoma St. JC) left JNE BSC Bandung Utama (IBL). In three games in Indonesia he had 7.7ppg, 2.7rpg and 1.7apg this season. Trapp is quite experienced player. He has played on four different continents (Asia, Latin America, Africa and of course North America). Trapp has played previously professionally in China (Leopards and Changsha Bank), Mexico (Bufalos), Dominican Republic (Soles de Sa... [read more]
Experienced 34-year old American (has also Filipino passport) guard Danny Trapp (186-83, college: W.Oklahoma St. JC) left JNE BSC Bandung Utama (IBL). In three games in Indonesia he had 7.7ppg, 2.7rpg and 1.7apg this season. Trapp is quite experienced player. He has played on four different continents (Asia, Latin America, Africa and of course North America). Trapp has played previously professionally in China (Leopards and Changsha Bank), Mexico (Bufalos), Dominican Republic (Soles de Santo Domingo) and Egypt (Somouha). He attended Western Oklahoma St. JC until 2006 and it is his eleventh (!!!) season as a professional player. Trapp could be described:
Physical and mental: Consistently runs the floor and never a lapse and transition, Mentally focused and stays within the game. Finds the open seams and pockets and is great at recognizing double teams. Danny is very affective slashing to the basket both with and without the ball, he is a great outside shooter and stretches the defense with his ability to shoot the ball and does well by getting his teammates involved. On the defensive of end, Danny is a tremendous on and off the ball defender as he is very quick on his feet and will cut the floor off very well and rotate. Reminds many coaches of a Gary Paton type of player. He embodies what a scoring yet defensive point guard really is. Danny is very Exciting to watch has a way with the fans not to mention Danny also tried out with the New Jersey Nets in 2009 and was let go the last cut but continues to work hard. Overall he's a solid player with natural athleticism and doesn't show signs of emotions, Adapts to changing game situations, and always find away to win.
Star clobbers Ginebra in Game 5, nears Finals - 3 days ago
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The Star Hotshots whipped up a storm in the third quarter and clobbered the Barangay Ginebra Kings, 89-80, to move a win shy of wrapping up their PBA Philippine Cup Final Four face-off at the MOA Arena in Pasay City Friday night. The two teams engaged in close duel through the first half before the Hotshots really got their act together in the third, making the first major run in the game and holding on to gain the pivotal 3-2 lead in the best-of-seven semis series. The Hotshots pummeled... [read more]
The Star Hotshots whipped up a storm in the third quarter and clobbered the Barangay Ginebra Kings, 89-80, to move a win shy of wrapping up their PBA Philippine Cup Final Four face-off at the MOA Arena in Pasay City Friday night. The two teams engaged in close duel through the first half before the Hotshots really got their act together in the third, making the first major run in the game and holding on to gain the pivotal 3-2 lead in the best-of-seven semis series. The Hotshots pummeled the Kings, 22-10, to make a crucial separation in the third, 71-55, and refused to slow down to get into the doorstep of a first finals for the franchise since its grand slam run in the 2013-14 PBA season. Coach Chito Victolero and his troops take their first of two cracks at the titular playoff in Game Six Sundayover at the Smart Araneta Coliseum. Rafi Reavis (203-C-77, college: Coppin St.), with 17 points and 13 rebounds, upstaged Japeth Aguilar (206-C-85, college: W.Kentucky) with his best game in the season and the entire Star team seemed to be always a step ahead of Ginebra in this game -- a big key in stopping the Kings' two-game charge in the series. In the fateful third quarter, only three players - LA Tenorio, Jervy Cruz and Scottie Thompson - scored for the Kings. With the Hotshots keeping their domination of the Kings in the fourth quarter, coach Tim Cone rested Tenorio, Thompson, Sol Mercado, Joe Devance and Aguilar with still long minutes left to play. From 17 points down, the Kings managed to come within seven in the last two minutes on the energy and firepower provided by JayJay Helterbrand (180-PG-76, college: Kentucky St.), Mark Caguioa (185-G-79, college: Glendale CC, AZ), Paolo Taha (188-G-90), Chris Ellis and Dave Marcelo. But the Hotshots just won't be denied despite the flat start of Marc Pingris, Allein Maliksi (190-F-87) and Paul Lee. Pingris picked up three early fouls while Maliksi fired blanks but the Star reserves picked up the slack as the Hotshots led 49-45 at the turn. Right upon substituting Pingris, Rodney Brondial rattled in eight points then PJ Simon, Jio Jalalon, Justin Melton, Ian Sangalang, Aldrech Ramos and Rome dela Rosa also made buckets as the Star bench outscored its Ginebra counterpart, 29-14, in the first two quarters of play. Pingris incurred two fouls in the first four minutes of the game then drew a third one just 14 seconds after he checked back in the second quarter. Reavis helped hold the fort for Star in the first half with nine points and seven rebounds as against Aguilar's 13 markers and three boards. Courtesy of: pba.ph
The 2016-2017 PBA Philippine Cup quarterfinals closed with a bang as Star, TNT, and Ginebra completed the semifinal cast. Game Capsules: STAR HOTSHOTS over PHOENIX FUEL MASTERS, 91-71 The Star Hotshots just seem to have Phoenix's number as they cruised to another blowout of the Fuel Masters, 91-71, to secure their place in the Oppo PBA Philippine Cup semifinal round on Monday at the SMART-Araneta Coliseum. Paul Lee led the way with team-highs of 17 points and nine assists while Marc P... [read more]
The 2016-2017 PBA Philippine Cup quarterfinals closed with a bang as Star, TNT, and Ginebra completed the semifinal cast.
STAR HOTSHOTS over PHOENIX FUEL MASTERS, 91-71 The Star Hotshots just seem to have Phoenix's number as they cruised to another blowout of the Fuel Masters, 91-71, to secure their place in the Oppo PBA Philippine Cup semifinal round on Monday at the SMART-Araneta Coliseum.
Paul Lee led the way with team-highs of 17 points and nine assists while Marc Pingris added 16 points on 6-for-7 shooting alongside nine rebounds, three assists and two steals.
Ian Sangalang and rookie Jio Jalalon each chipped in with 11 markers apiece in the win. (Interaksyon.com)
TNT KA TROPA over GLOBALPORT BATANG PIER, 95-90 TNT KaTropa weathered a storm by the GlobalPort Batang Pier, 95-90, to punch a ticket to the Oppo PBA Philippine Cup semifinals on Monday at SMART-Araneta Coliseum.
Ranidel De Ocampo spearheaded TNT with 25 points as KaTropa, who swept the best-of-three quarterfinal series, turned back a monster rally by the Batang Pier who came back from a 20-point deficit.
With the win, TNT forged a semifinal duel with defending champion San Miguel. (Interaksyon.com)
BGY. GINEBRA GIN KINGS over ALASKA ACES, 108-97 Barangay Ginebra San Miguel completed its massive comeback from a twice-to-beat disadvantage, toppling the Alaska Aces for the second time in a row, 108-97, to book the remaining Oppo PBA Philippine Cup semifinals ticket on Tuesday at SMART-Araneta Coliseum.
The result set up a dream Manila Clasico semifinal clash between the Gin Kings and fierce rival Star Hotshots.
LA Tenorio topped Ginebra with a career-high 31 points while Aljon Mariano had a huge contribution of 20 points, also a career-high, together with eight boards as they lifted the No.7 Gin Kings to an impressive upset of No.2 Alaska.
Rookie Kevin Ferrer also scored 15 points as he and Mariano helped provide spark to Ginebra who missed Joe Devance (left foot injury) and whose main players in Japeth Aguilar and Sol Mercado battled foul trouble. (Interaksyon.com)
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