by Ernest Hernandez
Team Pilipinas head coach Yeng Guiao is keeping a conservative approach even with the Qatar national team admitting that they are not sending their best players for this window of the FIBA World Qualifiers. Most of their main stars are nursing injuries, forcing the Qataris to field younger players to gain experience in the international scene.
“We don’t want to oppose on those weaknesses of Qatar,” said Guiao. “We want to focus on what the rest of the team can do and be able to prepare for that and be ready for that.”
According to the scouting report, Guiao reveals that there are still five players to worry about.
“They still have weapons. There are still 4 or 5 guys in this team that can hurt us,” he said. “If we are confident or take them for granted, this team can still hurt us and they are still very dangerous.”
Admittedly, Guiao knows that Qatar is a taller team. Playing a tall man’s game, height always has their advantages and they are wary of their opponent’s size.
“In all positions, we are still smaller,” Guiao said.
“Meron silang malalaking gwardya, meron silang malalaking front line. So size-wise even if those guys, those players who are not going to play for them, they will still be bigger than us. That is dangerous. The size differential is always dangerous.”
Another factor to consider is that there is no crowd to energize Team Pilipinas with the game held behind closed doors. Nonetheless, Guiao knows that it is still better to play at home than on their opponent’s court.
“I’m confident that the team is prepared enough, and the team is – we are really glad to be home,” Guiao said. “We are playing this game at home even if there is no crowd. Mami-miss namin yung crowd but it surely is better playing in other countries which we experienced in Iran.”
With the size difference, Team Pilipinas will look to capitalize on isolations and speed to carry them into the game.
“We feel that quickness is on our side, we feel that we can play a sustained running game,” said Guiao.
“If we can break them down one-on-one actually because we have the quickness to do that. I think we would try to exploit that all game long.”