Wednesday, June 23, 2010

My thoughts on FIBA ASIA Champions Cup in Qatar & the upcoming MVP Invitationals

I recently bumped into a few individuals who, apparently, follow my blog and encouraged me to write more often. So i thought of writing some of my thoughts on the past tournament in Qatar (FIBA ASIA Champions Cup) & the upcoming MVP Invitationals in Manila.

FIBA Asia Champions Cup

The 7th place finish for me was an underachievement. It's easy to make 100 excuses because of the situation of the team coming into the tournament but i don't want to cry over spilled milk. Certainly, valuable players JV Casio, Marcio Lassiter & JR Cawaling were missed because of what they could provide on both ends of the court. But let's just focus on those who were 'active' during the tournament, what were the pros and cons.

Despite being undermanned, I believe we could have finished, at least, 5th place (behind Iran, Qatar, Lebanon & Jordan). We lost to Syria in an unbelievably insane manner, an alley-hoop 3-point buzzer beater from an outlet pass downcourt. I thought I would only see those silly shots in the movies. We had our lapses too, which allowed Syria to creep back in the game. A win against them would have allowed us to battle for 5th against Kazakhstan who we can definitely beat.


I think the main problem was our defense. We had difficulty matching up with the opposing players. Against Qatar and Lebanon, the had big and long wing players that caused mismatches against us. Qatar had a 6'9 wingman (Mussa) who could post up like crazy. Fadi El Khatib & Nate Johnson were playing the 2 & 3 positions for Lebanon. Fadi & Nate Johnson both stand around 6'6. Fadi uses his heft to create mismatches while Nate Johnson is very athletic. Both are extremely experienced. Against Kazakhstan, we had problems matching up with the big men who pounded us inside the paint. They had several 7'0 players who were agile. ALmost all their points were scored at close range. Iran had muscle power via Jackson Vroman (6'11) & lengthy Loren Woods (7'1) who played positions 4 & 5 respectively.

On our end, Milan Vucicevic is about 6'10 and has a wide body to bang but is not athletic & not a shot blocker. Japeth Aguilar is 6'9, very athletic but does not body up. In fact, Mac Baracael (6'3) played the position 4 (power forward) 70% of the time. Aldrech Ramos also plays the position 4 but is even skinnier than Japeth because he was recently diagnosed w/ Dengue. Our tallest wingman is Mac Baracael (6'3) but plays mostly the power forward position. Chris Lutz & Dylan Ababou stand around 6'3. And I am 5'10 without shoes. I don't think we had problems matching up with the point guards even if Mark Barroca & RJ Jazul are shorter than i am.

I felt we were not physical enough defensively and we weren't able to pressure the ball enough like we normally do, mostly because of fatigue due to the very short rotation of players. We lacked a shot blocker or even just an inside presence to change the shots of the opponents. This is very important because Coach Rajko's defensive philosophy is to force baseline, which is like funneling everything to our position 5 big man, also known as the Center.

I felt we could have used the zone defense more.


Most of our attempts and points came from outside shots. Mac Baracael took most of the attempts and unfortunately, he was firing blanks throughout the tournament. Totally opposite from how he shot in the Dubai International earlier in the year. Everything that he made then, he missed now. That really hurt our offense because our position 4 frequently gets great open looks because of the system. The heart & hustle he showed was indispensable though. Mark Barocca is a scorer and there was no problem with his scoring. Although we needed him more to setup and create for the others just like what JV Casio & Marcio do. This explains why Dylan couldn't get his open looks from 3 & the bigs couldn't get too much easy points underneath. But recently, Mark is showing his development in his creative passing abilities. Chris Lutz was not much of a factor, mainly because he only had two days of practice before the tournament. We certainly lacked inside points. Japeth was also a non-factor and we missed his energy. He averaged less than 10 minutes a game. He is crucial to our success. Greg Slaughter, who has improved dramatically in the past months, was not used too much as well.


I have to commend the persisting Filipinos in Qatar who went out of their way to cheer for the team throughout the tournament. It felt like we were the home team, just like in the past tournament in Dubai. Filipinos occupied 80% of the stadium, which explains why they scheduled all our games at 8pm - the main game. It's just sad that we don't have a synchronized cheer unlike the other European, American & Middle Eastern countries. We should develop a common cheer for us Pinoys to use in international competitions for all sports! Maybe we can start in this coming pocket tournament?


Looking forward, things can only get better for us. The injured guys are healing and the new guys are picking up the very complicated system of Coach Rajko. We also have Marcus Douthit, as our import and candidate for naturalization, who will be suiting up for the invitational here in Manila. He is very skilled and intelligent, although he is 30 years old already. He can provide the inside points that we lack. Through this pocket tournament, we hope to regain our lost confidence and get back to our winning ways. Competition will be very tough because all teams are coached by the best in the industry. 3 Olympian coaches: Brian Goorjian of Donguan coached Australia in the 2004 Olympics in Athens. Mario Palma of Jordan manned the wheel for Angola in the 2000 SYdney Olympics & Coach Rajko Toroman spearheaded Iran's stint in the 2008 Beijing Olympics. We also have 2 former national team coaches who are part of the tournament, Coach Jong Uichico of Ginebra & Coach Chot Reyes of Talk & Text. Gonna be a very competitive 4-day showdown!

I've posted the details of the tournament in my previous post. Thanks to all those who continue to support the team, win or lose! We now ask for your prayers for an injury-free line up and that we may be the best team in the tournament :)



cieanne0603 said...

nice insights abt the FIBA cup.. good luck in the upcoming tourney, must win! its our homecourt! hehe. glad u updated your blog.

Anonymous said...

hi chris

this is my first time to visit your blog after 3 months...i was very disappointed in your blog about your practice game with the PBA players where it ended up not so good. But I really admire your determination as a player and I can't help but reading your recent post.I hope that your team will go far and make our country known worlwide=)

god bless and goodluck=)

best regatds,

fighting maroon=)

crazypeach said...

I really have a great feeling about the upcoming MVP invitationals. It will truly help you guys show your best among the best! Yahoo! Go SMART GILAS!

Christine said...

hi chris!! it's alright even though you're in the 7th place. I'm really proud to be a Filipino because we're competitive and even it's hard, we still accept our defeat while promising ourselves to do better next time. Only few can accept their defeat. just pray to God and i know that He will guide you and your team..

----Good luck

Deerman said...

pare nice evaluation..more power to you and to the team!

please follow this blog.. thanks!!

POWCAST said...

Check ythe pictures of your game at Ninoy Aquino Stadium, the finals against jordan here:

Yes said...

I believe in the team! Go Smart Gilas! I am looking forward to the action of MVP Invitationals.

I am happy you updated your blog.


sherilyn said...

hi chris...

it's been months before I could visit your blogsite...been busy this last few months...

Congrats though to your invitational cup championship...definitely deserve it...

Anyways...Advance Happy birthday to you this coming Thursday...
Keep it up...we're here to support you always...

karen v said...

Wow, you're such a credible host and product endorser. Congrats Chris!