<
>

Yeng Guiao has plenty to evaluate in Gilas' last tuneup game

play
Kiefer Ravena set to play vs. Adelaide 36ers (0:49)

Kiefer Ravena is expected to play Sunday when Gilas takes on Australia's Adelaide 36ers for the second time. (0:49)

Gilas Pilipinas coach Yeng Guiao, while happy with the 92-83 win against Australia's National Basketball League team the Adelaide 36ers, couldn't help but focus on areas that could use improvement.

Gilas will play the Adelaide 36ers again Sunday at the Meralco Gym in Pasig City and Guiao will then have some personnel decisions to make before the squad leaves for the FIBA Basketball World Cup in Guangzhou, China.

"There are still a lot of things that can still be refined in our performance," Guiao said. "I'm glad we won the game and we were able to sustain our effort. The 36ers really gave us a good workout."

The 36ers, coached by former PBA import Joey Wright, played tough defense, and provided Gilas with a good test as it works to incorporate center June Mar Fajardo, forward Troy Rosario and guard Roger Pogoy.

"I felt it was exactly what we needed: rugged, physical, playing against bigger guys, playing against bigs who can run the floor who are quick," he said. "That's where we have problems. Because our bigs like June Mar (Fajardo) is not that quick, Dray (Blatche) is not that quick, so we have to find a way to keep up with the bigs who can run and who are quick. This gave us a glimpse of what we'll face and it's going to give us time to make some adjustments."

Team captain Gabe Norwood, meanwhile, praised the team for showing poise late in the game.

"I think that's a mark of some growth, just trusting each other and trusting the system because we didn't get too discouraged," Norwood said. "Naturally, everybody got frustrated because we couldn't put the ball in the basket. But as long as we limit them the same and try to just really weather the storm, it's basketball. They will make runs, luckily, we were able to win."

Gilas opens the World Cup against Italy on Saturday, August 31. Injuries to key players will make Guiao's final roster decisions difficult.

"It's difficult to choose the final 12," Guiao said. "Poy (Erram) could not play. He has a knee issue. Matthew (Wright) also has health concerns so I'm a little worried about those two because I really wanted to see them in this situation. I (also) spoke to Marcio (Lassiter). He won't be making it (on time in his recovery from a strained MCL)."

Erram thinks he hurt his surgically repaired left knee during a pre-game workout and will undergo further tests. And Lassiter is still on the mend.

Erram, Wright, and Lassiter will miss Sunday's game against Adelaide.

Guiao sounded hesitant about making a final roster decision right after Sunday's game.

"It's a little concerning," Guiao said. "The injuries (to Erram and Wright) are not really serious. The problem is that this is the time we need to see them playing."

Guiao will get to see point guard Kiefer Ravena in action on Sunday. It will be Ravena's first game since the FIBA imposed suspension ends on August 24.

"Kiefer (Ravena) kept himself in really good shape. He worked very hard," Guiao said. "He's mentally strong, he has high basketball IQ. So I think he may grope for form for a few minutes, but he'll get his game back. I have high confidence that he can do that."

Guiao won't have much time to evaluate Fajardo, Rosario, Pogoy, and Ravena together with the rest of the team before the contingent leaves for Guangzhou on August 27.

ESPN5's Richard Dy contributed to this report.