Coach Jong Uichico had never set any expectations for his SEA Games-bound Gilas Pilipinas squad in their tune-up game against the Ateneo de Manila University Blue Eagles Tuesday. For him, all he had in mind was to observe what kind of team he has.
“I didn’t expect anything,” said the multi-titled Uichico.
“My mindset going into this game was to see how I will coach the team, how my rotation will be, see where their strengths are in terms of defense and offense.”
The young squad, which only has Troy Rosario and Baser Amer as “seniors”, went on to win, 86-79, as they survived a comeback attempt by the Ateneans.
As Gilas’ first game together wrapped up, Uichico realized plenty of things about his team, one of which is his side’s lack of size in the frontline.
“We lack big men. It’s hard to play without a big man,” admitted Uichico.
The SEA Games team can be tagged as a doughnut team, as the center spot has been left with a huge hole. The team’s front-court only consists of Troy Rosario, Carl Cruz, Christian Standhardinger, and Raymar Jose, all of whom are natural forwards.
But for Uichico, the team simply has to live with what they have.
“Walang magagawa eh,” said the veteran tactician.
“But these are the players that will play in the Southeast Asian Games, so we will just try to maximize our strengths and see how we can make up for our deficencies.”