Gilas Pilipinas completed a three-game sweep in the Master Game Face MVP Cup and had won nine of 14 warm-up games in all heading into the final week of preparation for the 2015 FIBA Asia Championship in Changsha, China.
Philippines wrapped up its tune-up matches with a 90-77 conquest of Chinese Taipei at the Smart Araneta Coliseum Sunday, and is headed to pitch camp in Cebu for the closing part of its FIBA Asia buildup.
Coach Tab Baldwin said they’re still in the learning curve with 10 days to go before the start of the Changsha meet that doubles as the regional qualifier for the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics.
Baldwin played down their second-place finish in the Jones Cup and their winning run in the MVP Cup.
“We’re still playing silly basketball. We commit terrible mistakes in transition. We’re turning the ball over recklessly. Professional basketball doesn’t do that,” said Baldwin.
“I’m not comfortable and I don’t want to be comfortable,” he also said.
The Nationals posted a winning 9-2 mark from the Jones Cup but Baldwin wasn’t impressed, saying there were
games that they should have easily dominated but they didn’t.
“It should’ve been good for our mentality, for our psychology,” rued Baldwin.
He cited their match with the Taiwanese at the close of the MVP Cup.
“They didn’t play (naturalized player Quincy) Davis in the second half. They didn’t play their best wing player (Lin Chih Chieh) and they didn’t have tough forward Tseng Wen-ting. We didn’t dominate that roster,” Baldwin pointed out.
But in winning their last six games from the closing stage of the Jones Cup, Baldwin hoped they could get any possible thing they could bring to the Asian championship.
Baldwin and his team carry the hopes of the nation to go back to the Olympics since the 1972 Munich Games.
The Gilas bench chieftain said they would refine their strategy and game plans in their Cebu jaunt.
“We introduced new stuffs in the MVP Cup. We’ll now refine those things. We’ll establish confidence on specific lineups. The guys know that so it won’t be a surprise to them. They would know their roles whether shooting, facing pressure or whatever,” said Baldwin.
The Taiwanese dropped all three games in the MVP Cup as they either sat out or played minimal minutes their star players.
Earlier in the day, the Wellington Saints clobbered Talk n Text, 101-78, to take second-place honors in the four-team, three-day pocket tourney.
Wellington 101 — Bloxham 20, Newton 19, Edwards 18, Mills 14, Adams 8, Turner 7, Ekenasio 7, Watkins 5, Ruscoe 3, Davis 0.
Talk n Text 78 — Tautuaa 26, Fonacier 13, J. Reyes 11, Seigle 7, Miranda 4, Rosario 4, Espiritu 4, R. Reyes 3, Labagala 2, Carey 2, Rodriguez 2, Sumalinog 0.
Quarterscores: 20-14, 48-43, 72-60, 101-78
Gilas Pilipinas 90 – Blatche 18, Taulava 13, Romeo 12, Abueva 11, Pingris 8, Hontiveros 7, Ganuelas 6, Intal 6, David 3, De Ocampo 3, Thoss 2, Norwood 1. (SB)
Chinese Taipei 77 – Lu 23, Chng SC 11, Liu 10, Tien 9, Chen SN 8, Tsai 8, Chen SH 6, Davis 2, Hung 0, Wu 0.
Quarterscores: 27-15, 46-34, 73-59, 90-77