Preview: Gilas Pilipinas faces must-win situation vs New Zealand
MANILA, Philippines – After last night’s loss to France, the home team has to pull out all the stops to get this win or it’s all over.
People have theorized that this match versus New Zealand at Mall of Asia Arena is the winnable one. That is easier said than done.
(LIVE: FIBA Olympic Qualifiers in Manila, Day 2: CAN vs SEN and PHI vs NZL)
Tale of the tape
Average height: Philippines - 6’5”, New Zealand - 6’5”
Average age: Philippines - 29, New Zealand - 25
FIBA Rank: Philippines - 28, New Zealand - 21
What does the Philippines need to do to win this match?
Against France, it was about the good start, hitting those outside shots, and keep the game close. Against New Zealand, it’s a good start, hit those outside shots, pound the ball inside, and play like there is no tomorrow. And that is exactly what it is — a win or go home situation.
The Philippines won’t be looking up at taller defenders. Gilas has the height advantage with Andray Blatche, June Mar Fajardo, and Japeth Aguilar who I figure will play today. If they can get outplay 6-foot-9 Isaac Fotu and 6-foot-9 Michael Karena then they stand a good chance of winning.
(READ: Baldwin explains benching Aguilar against France)
So the battle in the paint is crucial.
Who should the Philippines watch out for on New Zealand?
Essentially, it is just their starting 5. They are kind of thin and inexperienced as you go down the bench.
Tai Webster is a 6-foot-4 point guard who has extensive international experience (he led TB's in the 2012 OQT in scoring, started for TB's in 2014 World Championships). He's now leading the TBs in minutes & assists. He’s improved his 3-point shooting, is strong at finishing, and has a high learning curve.
Corey Webster is Tai’s 6-year older brother who stands 6 feet tall who plays the off guard position. Corey was voted top NZ player by FIBA for the 2014 World cup. A tremendous shooter, he’s had a number of high scoring games (25 plus pts) versus the Boomers, Team USA and Lithuania. Webster who leads this team in scoring. He supplies the bulk of the points as he averaged 19.0 points in Oceania competition. He is the only one who averaged in double digit scoring.
Thomas Abercombrie is the TBs’s 6-foot-7 small forward. He has been NZ's top forward since 2009. He is also the second leading scorer of the TB’s for the 2010 Worlds.
Power forward Mika Vukona stands 6-foot-5 and is a Marc Pingris-like player. He performs with a lot of hustle and heart and bigger than his actual height.
And there’s center Isaac Fotu. The Spanish league player was NZ’s best player for the TB’s vs the Boomers last year, matching up well vs Andrew Bogut. In the lead-up to FIBA Oceania he scored 34 pts against China’s frontline ( same team that beat Gilas in FIBA Asia), Issac is a versatile big, strong inside yet shoots the 3 well. He averaged 9.0 points and 9.0 rebounds in the FIBA Oceania series.
What can we expect from this match?
Gilas going all out. Throwing the entire team the kitchen sink, the crowd at the Tall Blacks. No haka war dance is going to daunt them. – Rappler.com