Takeaways from the Gilas Pilipinas’ performance at the 2014 FIBA Basketball World Cup

Photo screen shot from Davey Langit Twitter Account

Photo screen shot from Davey Langit Twitter Account

  • The lineup is designed to dribble-drive and kick as well as to push the ball when the opportunity presents itself. Kamikaze small ball is what I call it. Nevertheless, forcing it inside in a halfcourt situation is a death sentence because of our obvious height mismatch, and that is why slashers like Paul Dalistan and Jayson William are forced to jack up threes.
  • Our style of play and philosophy, which is something that is unique to Filipinos, was apparent throughout the tournament. There are instances when players dribble without any purpose, which causes the offense to stagnate. When we ran out of options, we dump the ball to the best player.

chot fiba

We came to the FIBA World Cup expecting every game to be like South Korea when it became Chinese Taipei except for one. We went to the tournament with only one play and we ran that play to the ground. It is not even NBA-style one-on-one basketball, rather, it is something that, as I have written in the previous paragraph, only Filipinos can execute.

  • This brings me to my next point. Our style of play is entertaining, and we surprised everybody because of it. We threw our opponents off and we frustrated them. They didn’t know how to guard us. Is our style of play wrong? No. It is something that we are already accustomed to doing, I will not take it against us. But is it a winning style of play? Apparently not.

Photo taken from FIBA.com

If only we reached the Round of 16, maybe our style of play would have changed the landscape of how international basketball will be played. There’s no need to break down the defense through swift ball movement, which is what Argentina did in the final minutes of the fourth quarter. Rather, we will discombobulate the opposition with our speed.

The rest of the world would have taken notice, see that what we do provides highlight reels, and it could have changed the way they play because it brings butts to the seats. We could have screamed, “We are Filipinos, we play basketball this way, we showed you how it’s done, and we won doing things our way. Live with it.”

If only.

  • As mentioned above, another tendency that was apparent is that we tend to rely on our main players sometimes to the point of excess. If it is not Andray Blatche, it is Jimmy Alapag. More so Blatche. Our tendency to “asa sa import”, something that we grew accustomed to seeing at the PBA, reared its head.
    Is it wrong? If you ask Kobe Bryant and Michael Jordan, the answer will be no. Big time players demand the ball in big time situations. The caveat though is that the offense becomes predictable.
Photo courtesy of FIBA.com

Photo courtesy of FIBA.com

  • There is no one to blame for our losses, not even Blatche, who led the tournament in turnovers. We rode on him from beginning to end. Fatigue had to set in eventually, what do you expect?
    Give the guy some slack. He played his heart out. He personified the idea of “puso” just like the rest of the team.
  • Where do we go from here? We have many options. We can continue to be stubborn and play our trademark Pinoy-style basketball and hope that one day we reach far by playing the sport we only know how. Or we can finally try to instill some semblance of discipline only seen when watching European teams.
    Better yet, we can try to develop a hybrid system that takes the best of our bravado and intensity, and couple it with the discipline and precision of Euroball.

After everything has been said and done, I do hope we bring more to the table by the time the 2019 FIBA Basketball World Cup comes. Especially if we do end up as hosts.

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