* MISSION ACCOMPLISHED. That is my main assessment of the Team Pilipinas’ performance in the 29th Jones Cup Tournament. I felt we basically came out w/ a stronger team than the one we came in with, w/ the integration of some key players in the team.
* Chot’s vision of Team Pilipinas, is to have a fast, running team that can shoot & penetrate in the half court. The problem w/ playing up tempo, is that:
– Players get tired after 4-5 minutes of a high-octane game.
– Once they’re tired, their shooting gets affected.
* The solution: To have a deep bench, so that when you pull your starters out, you can keep up the pace without sacrificing the quality of the players on the floor. I think we succeeded in that, w/ the smooth integration of James Yap & Kelly Williams to the team.
* The backcourt is really the team’s main asset. Our rotation in the 2-3 positions (Caguioa, Hontiveros, Yap & Norwood) I felt worked absolutely well for us, these guys are fast, quick & can shoot from the outside. Add in the tag team duo of Alapag & Helterbrand at the point, both of whom can also shoot, penetrate & run the plays well when necessary.
* The team is built around quickness, speed, outside shooting, & ENDURANCE, & I think this is the team Chot wanted, & GOT.
* While the tournament showed our strengths, it also glaringly showed our weaknesses, especially in the games against Qatar & Jordan.
* Asi & the other big men are able to handle teams w/ only 1 dominant big man, like South Korea, for example, who could only count on Ha Seung Jun on the paint. Or Iran, where only Hamed Ehaddadi was lording it over for that team in the shaded lane.
* However, against teams w/ a deep rotation of dominant big men, we end up being pounded into oblivion off the boards. Qatar & Jordan, for example, not only have good big men for Starters, their relievers are just as strong against our frontliners. Qatar has at least 4 good Centers or Forwards (Musa, Saeed, Salem & Abdulla), while Jordan had 3 (Almaaytah, Idais & Alkhas).
* W/ that kind of a weakness, I don’t think we have the tools to correct it. Taulava, Asi, Menk & Raymundo are already some of the best rebounders in the PBA, but they still end up being overmatched at international levels. For the opposing team, with their dominance inside the paint, all they have to do, is find a way for their outside shots to click. When that happens, we will be in deep, deep manure.