Gilas' game plan vs. Serbia: Keep game as close as possible

FOSHAN, China -- Gilas Pilipinas is hoping to bounce back with a better performance when it takes on Serbia on Monday.

After receiving a 46-point beating from Italy, Gilas coach Yeng Guiao said the team was "down and disappointed."

"We know a lot of Filipino were sad and disappointed as well. But this tournament isn't over, we will try get as many wins, as many good games as we can," Guiao said after Sunday's practice.

"I told [the players] to just move forward. Like a bad dream, we forget about that and start over again. We can't keep that in our minds and [expect to] play the next games really well. For us to perform well, we need to forget about that."

But in order for Gilas to have a chance at scoring an upset against Serbia on Monday, they'll need to show significant improvement in their 3-point defense and take care of the ball.

"Serbia is really deep and strong on paper, so we don't want to repeat the same mistakes -- the early turnovers. Serbia has a lot of shooters and we got killed with the 3-point shots yesterday. We need to work a lot harder on closing out on those 3-point shots and getting back with our rotations defensively against probably a better shooting team. The guys know that and the guys are willing to make that sacrifice. We hope they don't shoot as well with the effort we put out on defense," said Guiao.

"Our goal is to try to stay as close as we can, and see what happens in the end. It's that simple. Let's see if we can stay as close [to Serbia] as we can. They are big and they have more NBA players. We'll just try to keep the game as close as possible. We don't know how close we can get, but the effort has to be there 100 percent."

Serbia dismantled Angola by 46 points in their FIBA World Cup opener, even without NBA player Nemanja Bjelica who was out with an injury. Against Gilas, though, Serbia will have Bjelica in the mix as they aim to stay undefeated in Group D with Nikola Jokic, Bojan Bogdanovic and Boban Marjanovic still leading the charge.

"We're gonna be full tomorrow. Nemanja Bjelica is going to be in the roster. I believe he's going to play some minutes, so it's good news for us," said Serbian coach Sasha Djordjevic.

Djordjevic added that the Philippines' huge loss to Italy won't change their mindset heading into Monday's matchup.

"My philosophy is that the next game is the most important one in our careers. That's how we're going to approach the Philippines game," he said. "We're ready, we have experience and we know what to expect in games like this. We don't want to be surprised, not by Philippines, and not by some other national team that is, on paper, not as good as us."