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Sep 04, 2019

For a small team like Gilas Pilipinas, outside shooting is key

For a small team like Gilas Pilipinas battling bigger opponents, outside shooting should be part and parcel of its arsenal.

But the Filipinos have been firing blanks in the FIBA Basketball World Cup in Foshan, preventing them from somehow posing a threat to European juggernauts Italy and Serbia.

Against the Italians, Gilas managed to sink only three of its 23 attempts from beyond the arc, making all of them in the fourth, whereas the Azzurri shot a hot 48.4 percent (15-of-31).

The Pinoy dribblers hardly improved on this two nights later against the Serbians, hitting four of 24 tries for a 16.7 percent rate, as opposed to the 2014 World Cup runners-up who 54.5 percent (12-of-22).

Gilas coach Yeng Guiao said said they need at least 10 triples to make it a game against taller rivals. He noted that in tune-ups prior to the World Cup battle, they had won the games where they shot well from the outside.

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"Our three-point shooting is very unpredictable. Sometimes it's there, sometimes it's not," he lamented after the lopsided losses to Italy and Serbia.

"There are guys here I expected to shoot a bit better than they did so I'm still hoping in the next game, puputok din tayo," he said.

"In international games, we can't stop taking treys, especially for a small team, we will keep doing that and we will always have to include that as part of our strategy," he added.

The challenge is for the likes of RR Pogoy, Paul Lee, and Kiefer Ravena to find their marks from downtown. Otherwise, Gilas will be forced to look for points inside against a taller defensive wall.

"If that (three-point sniping) doesn't work kasi, we'll have to work our way going towards the inside or get closer to the basket. And I feel at this point, that might not be our best choice," said Guiao.

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Gilas big man June Mar Fajardo had some moments down low but simply couldn't do it consistently.

"In our first two games, June Mar showed promise. When he had the ball at the low post, he's able to deliver those points but he needs to deliver those points consistently all throughout the game. Ang sa kanya medyo in spurts lang eh.

"The problem with Andray (Blatche) also is he needs to do that for us and it's not also happening. Kaya tayo kumuha ng big man for our naturalized player is because of size so he should take advantage of that," said Guiao.

Gilas' gunners hope to be on target Wednesday afternoon as they take on Angola in a battle of winless teams for the third position in Group D. (OL)