With just about two minutes and three seconds left in Gilas Pilipinas’ game against New Zealand’s Tall Blacks, head coach Chot Reyes burned his last timeout.
But he did not draw a play to counter the imposing Kiwis. Instead, he told his men what needs to be done for their next game — a playoff clash against Japan’s Akatsuki Five.
The score prior to the timeout was 72-90 in favor of the Tall Blacks.
Those two minutes were a headstart in preparation for the next game.
“We talked about that briefly in the dugout, that we have to forget about this game because the next team we are playing plays a completely different type of ballgame,” said Reyes after Gilas suffered a 75-92 loss to close out their group phase campaign in third place in Group D.
“We told our players to get their rest because we need a lot of energy and quickness to stay with Japan. We watched how they play. As I said, nothing left to be done but just be ready for the next one.”
The Tall Blacks were rebounding beasts against Gilas, imposing their will on the board all throughout the game. As the dust settled, the rebounding margin was 61-28.
It negated the one-turnover Gilas outing.
“It’s amazing that we have one turnover the whole game but getting out-rebounded by 33, getting out-rebounded more than our actual rebounds was another mind-boggling fact that happened today. Those are the two things.
“We weren’t able to capitalize on our almost no turnover-game but we have to box out and be physical against the tougher teams going into the next rounds,” stressed team captain Kiefer Ravena, who had a team-high 17 points against the Tall Blacks.
Unlike the Tall Blacks, the Akatsuki Five have a more European approach to their game.
They spread the ball out and go for the three, attempting 41 a game during the group phase.
Japan also likes to run in transition as they are headed by the likes of Yuta Watanabe, Luke Evans, Yutaroh Suda, and Keisei Tominaga.
Against Japan, it’s win-or-go-home.
And Reyes, whose first goal in the tournament is to make the top eight, has no plans of going home just yet.
“I told the players after the game that we still have a chance against Japan to get to the top eight. We must forget about this ball game and just focus our energies and thoughts on the next game.”
Highlights of the games will also be on SMART Sports.