Gilas Pilipinas played a tactically sound match against Iran, according to Barangay Ginebra coach Tim Cone.
"This is a new regime. Everything's new to these guys. A lot of guys are playing this for the first time in a long time, but I think technically, tactically, this is a well-played game," Cone said on SportsCenter following Thursday's 81-73 loss to Iran in their 2018 FIBA World Cup Asian qualifier match.
"We didn't hit shots tonight, the guys that are very reliable in the PBA, got into a new gym, a new situation, but couldn't hit shots. There are some work to be done so they might tweak the lineup a little bit as we go forward," Cone said.
Alex Cabagnot and Marcio Lassiter combined for just 2-of-14 from 3-point range, while Paul Lee left the game in the second half after twisting an ankle.
Lee contributed just six points in over nine minutes.
Gilas went a dismal 5-for-28 from beyond the arc. Overall, the field goal percentage was not much better as Gilas shot 38 percent from the field, going 25-for-65.
Cone thinks the national team need more time to develop under new coach Yeng Guiao.
"My feeling is that the pick and roll defense has to improve. And the pick and roll defense only improves when you are together for a while," Cone said. "You can learn how to communicate, you can pick out different schemes on how you want to defend this guy or how to defend that guy."
Cone, a former national coach who guided the Philippines to a bronze medal finish in the 1998 Asian Games, is familiar with the challenges of preparing a team for international play.
"But I'm gonna say this till my face turns blue, you cannot judge this team right now. You've got to have patience on this team. You got to let this team to develop. I think this is important for a national team's success, to be patient," Cone said.
Gilas next faces Qatar on Monday in a closed-door game at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Qatar's lineup is quick but lacks the solid inside presence Iran has in Hamed Haddadi.
"[Qatar] have great athletes who can get up and down the floor and play in the open court a lot," Cone said. "But they don't have the real skilled player that Iran does. They don't have a Haddadi."
Cone thinks Japeth Aguilar would be an effective counter to Qatar.
"The way Japeth has been playing now nowadays, he's coming off an injury, but he played the last couple of games at a really high level. His size and athleticism can match very well against Qatar," Cone said.
The game against Qatar is especially important for the Philippines, now at 4-3 overall.
"I think this is the game they got to win. They got to get Qatar, they got to get Kazakhstan. Everything else is a bonus."