After going 0-2 in its homestand in the fifth window of the FIBA Asian World Cup qualifiers against Kazakhstan and Iran, Gilas Pilipinas coach Yeng Guiao said team chemistry will have to be addressed soon if the Philippines wants to qualify for the tournament in August in China.
Guiao said everyone tried their best to come together in two weeks but it wasn't enough time. And the failure to adapt to the difference in FIBA's officiating spelled the difference.
"I told the team that as good as these players are, you know if a team is mature or not. It's going to show in the way you play your game under pressure and I felt when we were under pressure, our maturity didn't show and that's a function of time together and seeing and experiencing adversity, which we didn't have enough of," Guiao said following the Philippines' 78-70 loss to Iran on Monday.
The Philippines turned the ball over twice inside the last minute, both of which Iran converted into points. Gilas had more turnovers than Iran, 16-10, and allowed Iran 33 trips to the foul line.
"Certainly time together is going to help but I'm not sure if that is totally within our control, on being able to have extra time to play together," Guiao said. "I'm not sure we can do something about it. It's really up to the PBA and the SBP [Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas]. If they give us time, then that's gonna be very helpful."
Guiao said the team has a lot to work on before February's last two games against Qatar and Kazakhstan in the final window of the Asian qualifiers.
"When I took on this job, I stated very clearly that my objective and goal is to bring this team to the World Cup. I think we fall to fourth place right now and we have to make assessments on the next two games and situations of other teams," Guiao said. "I also stated if I can't bring this team to the World Cup, I will walk away. Now we'll have to see because we're in that stage now where there's really a crossroad looking into the future and making that assessment. I think I have to discuss this with our basketball leaders."
Gilas is in fourth place in Group F at 5-5, behind Australia (9-1), Iran (7-3) and Japan (6-4). The top three teams in Group F move on.