MANILA, Philippines – PBA legend Robert “Sonny” Jaworski against emphasized the importance of defense in Gilas Pilipinas’ strategy which will come handy when they battle the heftier Kazakhstan team.
In an interview with Philippine Star columnist Joaquin Henson, Jaworski said the Nationals will have to pay closer attention to Kazakhstan’s shooters and rebounders.
“Tighten defense on the key scorers the whole night,” said the “Big J.”
“Kazakhstan is a team we beat in a tune-up game,” he said. “No reason not to beat them again but as in other games, we need to be conscious of boxing out during rebounds, push them farther away from rebound areas and mark those who have high percentage shots.”
The former Ginebra coach also said that the Nationals should use their speed to the hilt as the Kazakhs are expected to be slower because of their bigger size.
This way, he said, the Filipinos can get open looks at the basket.
“Instead of banging, we should overplay as they’re heavier. We should run and commit not to get tired. When the opportunity is there, go for the offense. There should be more talk both on defense and offense. Only when necessary should we settle for the set play.”
“Understand that we must win and we can with each and every one of our players working together and playing beyond their best performance to achieve the objective,” he said.
“When we’re settled in mind and heart, pray for God Almighty’s blessing. Good luck to us.”
Gilas coach Chot Reyes admitted that Kazakhstan remains to be a dangerous team despite losing all of its matches in the second round.
“The reason we didn’t opt to play in Group D for the Prelim Round was because of Kazakhstan. We can’t afford to do what we did the other [against Hong Kong],” he said in FIBA Asia’s official website.
Kazakhstan coach Matteo Boniciolli, for his part, said that it will be a privilege playing against Gilas.
He added that apart from a tough play against the Philippines, he said they will also have to contend with the home crowd at the MOA Arena.
“It feels good that we will play in a capacity crowd stadium. This is a big honor for my players. It’ll be a new experience for them completely. We’ll do what we have to do and try to contain them. But the crowd factor will be huge.”