While Philippine men's basketball team coach Yeng Guiao isn't taking Syria lightly, he plans on using their final match of the 2018 Asian Games to build for the near-future.
"Syria is a strong team. Let's not make the mistake of underestimating this team," said Guiao after the team's final practice in Jakarta. They'll face Syria to find out who'll finish at the fifth spot.
"They have a seven-footer (Abdulwahab Alhamwi) who is mobile and can shoot from the outside. When he gets the ball inside, there will be nothing we can do," the coach continued. "We have to pay special attention to him but he's surrounded by guys who can also score. They are solid until the seventh man. They have the material to pose a threat so we need to be alert and careful. We can't be overconfident of complacent."
As he was recently named the head coach for Gilas Pilipinas in the upcoming FIBA Asian Qualifiers, Guiao is taking the opportunity to prepare for the games against Iran and Qatar.
"It's a good simulation of our game against Iran because Hamed Haddadi and their seven-footer play very similar styles," he explained. "We will have a better understanding of how to play Iran in the next FIBA window. We're looking forward to the next challenge, the Syria game and then we'll start preparing for the next window."
Even though they still have a game to play in the Asian Games, there has been a lot of talk about the composition of the upcoming Gilas team due to the suspensions on many of the mainstays. Guiao noted that they have already invited a few players ahead of their first practice.
"There are names that have been floated, Marcio Lassiter, Alex Cabagnot, and Scottie Thompson," he said. "So far those are the names we can mention. We'll have a problem with the bigs because June Mar (Fajardo) is injured so we still don't know. The three will be invited and I hope they can join us in our first practice on Monday."