Guiao: 'Hard to prepare against a team that has no weakness'



JAKARTA, Indonesia – Hoping to have made the most out of its near weeklong break, the Philippine men's basketball team believes it's all set for the do-or-die quarterfinal match against South Korea in the 2018 Asian Games.

“Of course we want to win the game… we want to get to the medal round. We’ve prepared everything and we tried to keep our game plan as simple as we can,” said national team coach Yeng Guiao.

The match is set on Monday, August 27 at 11 am (Philippine time) at the Gelora Bung Karno Basketball Hall.

Bannered by Filipino-American NBA player Jordan Clarkson, the Nationals had their last practice session on Sunday, and according to Guiao, they are all set for the big test against the squad that has dealt the country many heartaches. 

“It’s the big game and we’re ready to play Korea. I feel good about this game. My feeling – as I’ve said of this game – it is even. Although I feel we have a good chance against the Koreans,” Guiao said. (READ: Guiao on PH-Korea showdown: ‘Things are even this time’)

The winner of the match will advance to the semifinal against Iran or Japan, which will clash in their own quarterfinal battle at 12:30 pm.

The other quarterfinal matches pit Chinese Taipei against Syria at 4 pm, and host Indonesia versus China at 6:30 pm.

Guiao conducted a three-hour practice session with his wards – the first hour was a team meeting and viewing of tapes and the final two hours were spent on polishing plays.

“But it’s really hard to prepare against a team that has no weakness. We put together a plan that we feel is the best plan we can put together,” he said.

“And a lot will now depend on execution. A lot will also depend on the desire and determination of this group to win,” Guiao added.

Korea – led by naturalized player Ricardo Ratliffe, who averaged nearly 24 points with 13 rebounds in the eliminations – finished No. 1 in Group A with a perfect 3-0 record.

The Philippines wound up with a 1-1 win-loss card to claim the No. 2 spot in Group D behind China’s 2-0.

Besides the 6-foot-10 Ratliffe, who was the Magnolia Hotshots import  in the last PBA season, Korea also has deadly shooters – Lee Jung Hyun, Kim Sunhyung, Heo Ung, Heo Ilyoung and Jeon Junbeom and big man Kang Sangjae.

Guiao said he has put premium on running the team’s system so as not to rely heavily on the 6-foot-5 Clarkson,  who debuted with 28 points, 8 rebound and 6 assists in the Philippines' 82-80 loss to China last Tuesday.

But Guiao expressed confidence that in tight situations, he knows the Cleveland Cavaliers guard can bail them out.

Defense will also be tops on Guiao’s priorities forn the game – stop the Korean shooters and prevent their naturalized player from dominating the shade.

“These are the two important things we have to keep in mind on defense. On offense, I’m not worried because I have enough players who can score,” he said. –