* 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.
* I only got to catch the game starting from the middle of the 3rd Quarter. I feel like an idiot, this is the 2nd time I expected a “light” game for us, only to have us lose each time.
* It was relatively close until the 4th quarter, when the Kazakhs suddenly hit 4-5 straight 3 pt. shots & blew the game away. Ponomarev, their 6’10” Center, hit at least 3 three-point shots in that quarter. What can you do, when a 6’10” player starts hitting shots from the 3 pt. line one after the other? Not much, really.
* While the Kazakhs were making theirs, we weren’t making ours. I learned Yap was sidelined earlier in the game, & that Norwood also did not get to play this game for some reason. Those were 2 guys off our rotation who could’ve helped us on both ends of the floor in the 2nd half. Which goes to show how important those 2 guys are now to the team.
* The thing that scares me w/ Qatar, are the same thing that scared me w/ the Jordanians: Their size, & rebounding.
* In the 1st quarter, both teams played man-to-man. For some reason, the Qataris were playing very tentatively, hence our 18 or so pt. lead over them then. In the 2nd Quarter, the Qataris started asserting themselves in the paint. Chot called for a time out, & the team implemented a 2-3 Zone. Their size advantage underneath was negated, & we again extended our lead.
* I didn’t notice the Qataris play anything but man-to-man against us, w/c is understandable, what w/ all our shooters & penetrators.
* Only one word to describe this game, especially in the 1st quarter: I-I-I-T’S S-H-0-W-T-I-M-E!!! As expected, the game was on High Octane from start to finish, never letting up in terms of speed.
* After Iran, this is another team that got railroaded by the “Team Pilipinas Express”. They tried to run w/ us, but couldn’t keep up. We have a much deeper bench than they have, & when we started substituting players, we maintained the quality of our players, while theirs simply went down, making them ripe for the picking.
* This was my expectation when we played against that Japanese Youth team, which didn’t happen then. This Taiwanese team, just like that Japanese Youth team, is no taller than we are on all positions, & because of that, we have a big advantage in terms of individual skill & talent. This time, we simply overpowered them on an individual level.
* I feel we match up better w/ Iran compared to Jordan, because Jordan has 3 excellent tall players in Almaaytah (7’0″), Alkhas (6’9″) & Idais (6’9″), while Iran only has Ehaddadi (7’2″).
* Again we showed our quickness in this game, sustaining our running game all 4 quarters, & making a living on those drive & spot up plays.
* Iran’s mistake, was trying to match the RP NT’s running game in the 1st half. They initially were successful, but they could never match completely our speed, nor sustain it like we can, especially w/ Chot rotating men every 4-5 minutes on the floor. By the 4th quarter, they were basically walking back on offense. That eventually affected their shooting also.
* Chot realized Iran’s limitation in terms of lacking other quality big men, so allowed more double teams, further limiting Hadadi’s effectiveness.
* First time I’ve seen Jordan play up close, & I don’t like what I see. First, they are way taller & bigger than us. They have a couple of tall, beefy players out there, which means all throughout the game we will always be outmatched in terms of height & heft in the no. 4 & 5 positions.
* And we’re not talking here of slow, lumbering & uncoordinated big men. These big men have have game. Almaaytah (7’0″) has bulk, mobile & has very good coordination, a terror in the shaded lane. Alkas & Idais (both 6’9″) are beefy, & can play both inside & outside well. They are like a much, MUCH better version of Mick Pennissi.
* Speaking of Pennissi, his stats all the way from Iran has been very poor. He’s supposed to be contributing from the 3 pt. range, but hasn’t done so consistently. His rebounding is shot (about 2 rpg), & his individual defense is barely passable. His inside offensive game is non-existent. We might as well have been having Jimmy Alapag playing Center for the team.