Thoughts | Gilas Pilipinas versus Argentina #GilasPilipinasYouth

So I watched the game between Gilas Pilipinas and Argentina at the 2019 FIBA U19 World Cup.

Name recognition alone, Argentina is a powerhouse like Greece and it’s hard to win against these teams. Still, Gilas Pilipinas lost via a respectable margin, 77 to 72. Dave Ildefonso had a double-double with 22 points and 10 rebounds of an 8-for-15 clip. Carl Tamayo also had a near double-double with 8 points and 9 rebounds.

With AJ Edu, Kai Sotto struggled for shots and finished with 17 points, 8 rebounds, and 6 swats in nearly 34 minutes of action.  

Gerry Abadiano had 9 points but went 20 percent from the field while James Spencer had the same number of points – all from rainbow country. Geo Chiu and Dalph Panopio hardly made their presence felt.

I am a firm believer in high percentage shots and while the Filipinos aren’t exactly known for their titan-like height, Sotto is actually bigger than his Argentine counterpart. Heck, Tamayo and Chiu looked at par with their counterparts as well. Gilas can strike hell from long distance but when the situation presents itself, I think it's better to let the center post up and invite a double team and then send the ball to a kick out option. I thought Argentina used the court well and were unfazed when Gilas were having mini-runs. 

Without the proper halfcourt setups, the three-point bombs they unleashed felt like desperation heaves. I get why the haters in Youtube were that hell-bent on Abadiano's shot selections and inability to exploit Sotto's inside game.  

If there is one thing I learned from the Toronto Raptors, it’s that height is still might especially when games are on the line.

Ildefonso did well cooking up scoring opportunities for himself but it felt like the team had trouble giving Sotto the touches. This is the other problem. Whatever happened to the guards? Abadiano, Spencer and Panopio need to use their court vision to create opportunities for their teammates. Sotto in some ways is our Andray Blatche or June Mar Fajardo if you’re going to be technical about it.

We are wasting Sotto’s talents in every possession that he never gets a ball touch.

And when that happens, we resort to hero ball.

More than sending Sotto to Europe, we need to teach our future point guards how to read situations.

We are already the best playmakers in Asia… at least if we compare ourselves to most countries… but we kind of mess things up when we face other continents.

And before I forget, Gilas Pilipinas Youth also needs to protect their selves from errant referee calls. I know some calls are reserved for pronounced contenders but the players and officials also need to get some calls in their favor. For example, Ildefonso's spin move could be traveling... unless we verbally chew them and say otherwise. Also, the referees are disregarding the late-game intentional fouls. I am not trying to make our boys act like douche bags but they need their voices to be heard as well.



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