Gilas Pilipinas may have won by 52 points against Singapore in its debut at the 30th Southeast Asian Games, but coach Tim Cone warned his team to not take Team Vietnam lightly when they play on Friday night at the Mall of Asia Arena.
"Against Singapore, we were uneven, showing flashes of brilliant play at times and at others showing how disjointed we can be. But we're hoping to smooth that out as we continue to learn each other as the games progress," Cone said on the eve of their match against their next opponents.
The two-time PBA grand slam champion coach is wary of Vietnam, which improved to 2-0 in the tournament following a 99-78 win on Thursday over Singapore. They opened the tournament on Wednesday by clobbering Myanmar, 131-52.
"Vietnam is the one program that has really improved with the addition of 5 Viet-Americans and one Viet-Swede since the last time in the Games. We expect them to be much tougher than Singapore," said Cone.
Gilas will be Vietnam's first real test as the Philippines fields a tall frontcourt of June Mar Fajardo, Christian Standhardinger, Japeth Aguilar and Greg Slaughter. The national squad's backcourt of LA Tenorio, Stanley Pringle, Kiefer Ravena and Chris Ross will also pose a challenge.
Asked if Philippines fans should expect a big margin of victory Cone said: "Are we gonna expect to a 50-point game every night? We're not, and that's not something we look forward to do. But we just try to come out each possession, hopefully win that possession and wear the team down over time."