Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?

Tiebreaker Times

2020 Tokyo Olympics

Sotto-Kouame-Baltazar-Navarro lineup still a work in progress for Gilas

Several times during the Clark window of the 2021 FIBA Asia Cup Qualifiers, Gilas Pilipinas Men head coach Tab Baldwin plugged Kai Sotto and Angelo Kouame together.

There were also times when Justine Baltazar would be fielded in the wing position along with Sotto and Kouame; Isaac Go and Carl Tamayo; and Sotto and Geo Chiu.

A day before leaving for Belgrade for the 2021 FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament, Baldwin tried something new during their tune-up match against China.

In the starting five were 7-foot-3 Sotto, 7-foot Kouame, 6-foot-8 Baltazar, 6-foot-6 Navarro, and 5-foot-10 SJ Belangel.

“We were trying to have a look at what we can experience in Europe if you want to go with a bigger lineup. I tried to play around with that tonight with mixed success and failure,” admitted Baldwin.

“The group that I started didn’t really jell really well.”

Things did not go as planned. China went on a 10-0 start to begin the contest, which meant Jordan Heading immediately came in to replace Baltazar.

Sotto eventually had 13 points playing either the five or the four. Meanwhile, Kouame had 12 at the five in the 79-all draw.

For their part, Navarro remained a steady presence with eight points, while Baltazar also had eight. The DLSU Green Archer did most of his damage when he was back at the four spot. though.

“Balti was better at power forward again, so it’s going to be a process for him. A long road to becoming a good wing player but he has the tools to do it,” said Baltazar, who averaged 7.4 points, 7.8 rebounds, and 1.8 assists per game in the Qualifiers.

“So we just have to get the mentality right.”

Moving forward though, the American-Kiwi tactician — who steered New Zealand to the Olympics in the 2000s — plans to work on that lineup more.

#ReadMore  James Yap says friendship with Marc Pingris will last forever

Gilas will not only face the likes of Serbia and the Dominican Republic in the upcoming Belgrade Olympic Qualifying Tournament; it also faces European and North American teams during the team’s build-up to the 2023 World Cup.

“Ange and Kai needed to play together, and Balti needed to play in the wing more. We tried that and we have a lot of work to do for them to be comfortable on that lineup,” he said.

“Right now, it doesn’t look as good as I had wanted it to.”

Written By

Tiebreaker Times Logo

You May Also Like


BACARRA, ILOCOS NORTE — The streaking Choco Mucho averted a major collapse in the third set to send Black Mamba-Army to the brink of...


PAGADIAN, ZAMBOANGA DEL SUR — Mac Cardona played his best game in a Zamboangq City jersey in the 2021 Chooks-to-Go Pilipinas VisMin Super Cup,...


Gilas Pilipinas fell short against Tunisia, 80-68, to end its 10th King Abdullah Cup stint, Sunday night at the Prince Hamzah Sport Hall in...


BACARRA, ILOCOS NORTE — When Motolite disbanded early this year, Isa Molde was left with no squad heading to the first-ever professional conference of...


PAGADIAN, ZAMBOANGA DEL SUR — Fifth-ranked Zamboanga City banked on its pesky defense down the stretch to gain the upper hand in the first...


BACARRA, ILOCOS NORTE — After six-straight painful losses, the already-ran PLDT finally scored its breakthrough win in the Premier Volleyball League Open Conference after...


Much has been said about Troy Rosario being the next Ranidel De Ocampo ever since he came on board TNT some six years ago....


BACARRA, ILOCOS NORTE — Jonah Sabete is finally back to her old, lethal form for Sta. Lucia after struggling in the initial part of...