Finally we got past Korea in FIBA World Rankings after strong showing in FIBA ASIA 2015

Finally, we were able to crack top 30 and moved past Korea! 

Here is the official post from FIBA:
The continental basketball championships staged this summer have led to some changes in the FIBA World Ranking!
FIBA World Ranking Men after the 2015 Continental Championships:
#1 United States of America
#2 Spain
#3 Lithuania#4 Argentina#5 France#6 Serbia#7 Russia#8 Turkey#9 Brazil#10 Greece#11 Australia#12 Croatia#13 Slovenia#14 People’s Republic of China#15 Angola#16 Puerto Rico#17 Islamic Republic of Iran#18 Dominican Republic#19 Mexico#20 Federal Republic of Germany#21 New Zealand#22 Venezuela#23 Tunisia#24 Great Britain#25 Nigeria#26 Canada#27 Uruguay#28 Philippines#29 Jordan#30 Korea#31 Senegal#32 Finland#33 Panama#34 Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia#35 Latvia#35 Italy#37 Israel#38 Poland#38 Ukraine#40 Cote d’Ivoire#41 Egypt#42 Czech Republic#43 Lebanon#44 Belgium#45 Cuba#46 Paraguay#47 Georgia#48 Japan#48 Chinese Taipei#50 Qatar#51 Bulgaria#52 Cameroon#53 Bosnia and Herzegovina#53 India#55 Jamaica#56 Kazakhstan#57 Mali#57 Central African Republic#59 Virgin Islands#60 Morocco#61 Mozambique#61 Sweden#63 Cape Verde#64 Rwanda#65 United Arab Emirates#65 Hong Kong#67 Malaysia#68 Algeria#69 Kuwait#70 Uzbekistan#71 Bahrain#72 Indonesia#72 Montenegro#72 Syria#75 Palestine#76 Gabon#77 South Africa#77 Kingdom of Saudi Arabia#79 Libya#79 Republic of Congo#81 Thailand#82 Singapore#82 Madagascar#84 Iceland#84 Portugal#84 Netherlands#84 Estonia#88 Sri Lanka#89 Uganda#89 Chad#91 Burkina Faso#91 Togo#91 Zimbabwe

YES! here are the top plays of team philippines from FIBA:


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Aldrin C.
Team Powcast

Gilas Wins Over Japan, 81-70, Books Ticket To Finals!

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Gilas set their date with destiny tomorrow, as they outlasted Team Japan 81-70, and booked a seat opposite host China for the right to call themselves the best team in Asia as well as the lone ticket to the Rio Olympics.
Japan gave us a hard time once again, sticking with us until the end of the third quarter, when the score was still tied 54-all. It took the sniping of veterans Dondon Hontiveros, Ranidel de Ocampo and the stellar overall play of Jayson Castro and Andray Blatche for Gilas to finally put the game out of reach.
Here are the four difference makers for Gilas in their victory over Japan:

Defense on Makoto Hiejima – Hiejima was a revelation in this game, scoring 22 points in the first half alone. That’s an amazing feat, considering Hiejima was averaging 14 points per game. Then, in the second half, Dondon Hontiveros, Gabe Norwood, and Calvin Abueva took turns making Hiejima sweat blood for his points.  All that running around to get free from those three finally took its toll on Hiejima, who scored just 6 points in the second half and, in one sequence, couldn’t get back into Japan’s own half of the court, forcing one of his teammates to fould Castro just to avoid a 5-on-4 situation. On a side note, Norwood also turned in some brilliant defense in the last minute, getting 2 late steals to seal the game.
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DonDon Hontiveros Saves the day for Pinas 18 points 6/9 3 points

When the going gets tough, we relied to the Cebuano Hotshot Don Don Hontiveros to help us win against Japan in the Semi-fnals war between Japan and Philippines.
Hontiveros scored 18 points 6-9 all by 3 pointers and he delivered when it mattered the most, He was able to make the 3 point basket that gave us the cushion and pump the score up to 77-68 with 1:20 seconds remaining. Japan then called time out and from then on it was just an exchange of basket to the last second Gilas Pilipinas won over Japan 81-70.
Japan was headed by Heijima with 28 monster points and Takeuchi howled 16 rebounds but it was just them who made the fight closer. Blatche gave us another double double leading the team with points and rebounds with 22 points and 13 rebounds. Castro delivered crucial baskets as well for us to keep the lead with 20 pts and dished out 7 assists and followed up by the stellar shooting of Hontiveros who for me is the best player if this game.
Gilas will go up against China winner will qualify to 2016 Rio Olympics in Brazil.
Written by:
Aldrin C.
Team Powcast

Gilas Wins Over Japan But At What Cost?

Gilas Wins Over Japan But At What Cost?

Was the Gilas vs Japan game important? Of course it was.

But was it a must-win game? As far as second round games, maybe it was. But then again, losing that game would have merely meant a harder road to the finals, but not elimination from the tournament.
Those come later, when we move into the knockout stages. Will we then regret playing Andray Blatche in the third and fourth quarter of this game, rather than letting him rest his ankle so he can recover for the remaining games ahead?
Which also begs this question: do we tempt the fates tomorrow and play a limping Blatche against a physically superior, highly killed team like Iran…or do we play it safe, sit Blatche down, and accept the looming defeat to Iran?  A loss to Iran wouldn’t be devastating either, as it’s say to say that they’ll beat Palestine and if we beat India (which we should do), we’ll still be in prime position to cop second place in our group.

Personally, I would rather that Blatche did not come back to play in the Japan game. Sure, it was nip and tuck but the boys were battling back, not letting Japan take over the lead, and I have a feeling they would have closed out Japan anyway. I do understand the logic of putting Blatche back, as a guarantee, but still, I felt that the quality of our Gilas players was more than enough to win over the Japanese.
As for tomorrow, if Andray Blatche is around 80%-90% in good physical condition, I’d have no problems with him playing. But if he’s going to be limping up and down the court, jumping on one foot and getting blocked by guys 2-3 inches short because he can’t plant his foot to jump, then I’d prefer he rest his foot.
We can take the loss now, have Andray back to better foot health and be in a better position to beat China or South Korea in the semifinals and get another shot at the Iranians. This time though, it will be with something more meaningful on the line: that ticket to Rio.
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Gilas Demolishes Hong Kong, 101-50.

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Now that is what you call a statement game.
Yesterday’s shock defeat left everyone wondering how Gilas would react today. Sure, there were the expected “we’ll bounce back” declarations, the avowing of ire-venting, but words are cheap and Gilas was called upon to put up or shut up.
Well, they put them up and they never stopped punching until the final siren sounded. By them, they had beaten the overmatched Hong Kong team into submission and were gunning to hit the century mark, as an exclamation point to their dominating performance.
Right from the get-go, the Filipinos wanted to erase the bitterness left by yesterday’s defeat in their collective mouths by strangling Hong Kong on both ends of the floor. They started the game off with a 12-0 blast and even led 20-2 before Hong Kong could gather themselves and try to make a game out of it.
Andray Blatche was his usual self, hitting threes and driving for finger rolls but this time, he wasn’t doing it alone. Jayson Castro, after being told by Coach Baldwin to be more aggressive on offense, took matters into his own hands and drove into the paint for lay ups and even drained back-to-back threes in a span of thirty seconds.
Dondon Hontiveros also drained his own set of back-to-back threes and before you knew it, we were up 51-22 at halftime.
The third quarter was more of the same, with Gilas rotating their players to give more game burn to Intal, Ganuelas-Rosser, and Romeo. And by the fourth, the only questions left were whether Gilas would hit the century mark and if they’d be able to double their lead against Hong Kong. And the answers to those questions are “yes” and “hell, yes”, with the final score set at 101-50.

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Why Gilas Lost To Palestine

Why Gilas Lost To Palestine

Yes, we lost. Yes, we were expected to win. Yes, it’s a historic upset. But none of those things matter now. What matters is that Gilas learns from this game and uses those lessons to get better (hopefully, in time for tomorrow’s game).

That being said, here are three things that contributed to our loss to Palestine.
Palestine, despite having a 6’8” center, outrebounded the Philippines 58-53. What’s worse is that Palestine totally owned Gilas on the offensive boards, with a 23-17 advantage. Those come out to 12 potential second-chance points. In a two point loss, denying them 2 of those offensive rebounds could have won us the game.
The Gilas big men actually rebounded well, led by Blatche with 12, Abueva collaring 8, Thoss with 6, and de Ocampo with 5. But it’s the box-out system that seems to be broken, with Palestine’s Rebound Brothers, the Sakakinis, getting 6 offensive rebounds each. Their big O-reb numbers were aided by our defensive scheme, something I will get into in the next paragraph.
Don’t get me wrong. I think Tab Baldwin is a great coach. But in today’s match, he was nowhere near to being a good coach. Palestine came out like a house on fire, swinging hard to try to get Gilas off-balance. Gilas teetered, but regained balance by the end of the first quarter.
By the start of the second quarter, Palestine had pieced together an action plan on how to take down Gilas. First, they went after Terence Romeo on defense. By overpowering Romeo on the defensive side, they forced Baldwin to pull him out and put in Jayson Castro, the stronger, better defender. This is right after Romeo scored 5 quick points, helping Gilas erect a 15point first quarter lead.
After Romeo sat, Palestine’s big men went hard at Blatche. They got Blatche to foul twice in the span of one minute, and again, Baldwin had to pull him out. Gilas thus had to play almost the entire second quarter without two of their most dynamic offensive players.
By the third quarter, Palestine had figured out Gilas’ two fatal weaknesses: their lack of reliable shooters and their lack of discipline on defense. To exploit Gilas’ lack of reliable shooters, Palestine switched from a man-to-man coverage to a zone, daring the Filipinos to shoot from distance. They did…to the tune of 7-30 (23.3%). After that, it was just a matter of time before the Palestineans clogged the lane and kept our slashers and rebounders out of the shaded area.
On offense, seeing that the Filipinos were employing a “switch on all” defensive system that didn’t run very smoothly, the Palestineans countered by sending cutters and pickers on every play, targeting the likes of Castro, Romeo and Hontiveros for mismatches. Each of these guards were victimized by switching mismatches, the most costly of which was the last Palestinean play, when Hontiveros had to foul the hulking Sakakini, who made the and-one play that gave Palestine the win.
I have mentioned in previous articles about the need for game tapes. This game has underscored this need even more. With the advent of the digital age, the excuse “we have no scouting tapes” just doesn’t cut it. Even the star-studded 2006 US basketball team fell prey to this excuse, losing to a Greek team that had no NBA players in their roster because the US players didn’t even know who was on the other team. And that was a team with Lebron James, Carmelo Anthony and Dwayne Wade on it.
Another thing we have to remember is that this isn’t a problem other teams have with Gilas. There are tons of online videos about Gilas 3.0. And you can bet your butts that every team in the tournament has watched those and broken down which Gilas player can do what. If this is what Palestine can do to us with prior info on what we can do, just imagine what China, South Korea and Iran will do with that information.
We must therefore go into the games prepared with countermeasures for what will surely be our opponents’ tactics to exploit our weaknesses. Having no answer to a hard zone or a dynamic motion offense is unacceptable.
This is hardest pill to swallow. There were almost a dozen “50-50” balls in the game and Palestine won all but two. This, again, is unacceptable for a team with the #puso calling card. Palestine is one of those teams to whom we do not give up too much height, heft or speed. If we can’t beat them to loose balls, how will we fare against speedier teams like South Korea and Chinese-Taipei or bigger, heftier teams like China and Iran?
Another observation for me that is hard to swallow is that the boys seemed shell-shocked by the end of the fourth quarter. No one wanted the ball, not even Andray Blatche, who memorably handed the ball off to Asi Taulava with the clock winding down. This led to a fastbreak basket for Palestine, which undermined our confidence even more. This is the type of situation that Jimmy Alapag lives for and we certainly missed him today.

That being said, tomorrow is another day. It’s another chance to show Asia what Gilas is actually made of and to exhibit the Gilas #puso.
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Remembering Saudi Arabia: Why Gilas 3.0 Can’t Afford To Look Beyond the First Round

When the 2013 FIBA Asia Championships was held in Manila, the Philippines chose to be in Group A with Chinese-Taipei, Jordan and Saudi Arabia. Among the three teams, Chinese-Taipei was considered, hands-down, Gilas’ most dangerous opponent. Jordan was also a cause for concern, especially with naturalized Jimmy Baxter in good form. As for Saudi Arabia? Well, everyone agreed that they would be the whipping boy of the group.
With Gilas playing Saudi Arabia on the first day of competitions, the general consensus was that the Philippine team would be getting a practice game right before the “serious” games.
And then, the game was actually played. Maybe the Gilas staff underestimated the Saudi players. Maybe they didn’t scout them well enough. Maybe the Saudis improved immensely from when they first qualified for the FIBA Asia Championships.
Whatever the reason may be, that first quarter of play put tiny icicles of doubt into the hearts of Gilas supporters everywhere, as Gilas looked shell shocked at the fast-breaking, board-crashing opponents. By the end of the first quarter, Saudi Arabia had a 2point lead, 16-14, and had put a dent in the Philippines’ mystique of invincibility.

To the credit of Gilas, they recovered pretty quickly and outscored the Saudis 12-21 in the second quarter. They also won the game by 12, a margin that many felt was way to little for a team that was supposedly heads and shoulders above its previous incarnation, the same team that beat Iran with Haddadi, Bahrami, and Kamrani in its lineup at Jones Cup held just the year before. 

My personal point of view was yes, we did take Saudi Arabia lightly. Gilas players did not have a clue who they should be guarding tightly at the three point line and who they should sag off on. They didn’t know who likes driving and popping, who has a tendency to cheat on D, who they can exploit on the block, who is a threat from the corner… These are the things that come with proper scouting, proper game planning, and even proper game management.
Of the three, we are probably most familiar with Hong Kong. Which means there aren’t any excuses for not taking their game apart. Duncan Reid, Lo Yi Ting, Chun Wai Wong, and Siu Wing Chan should all be watched closely, as any of them could break out with a monster game.
Palestine and Kuwait last played in the 2014 Asian Games and, to their credit, gave a good accounting of themselves. Kuwait has players who can score both inside and outside while Palestine is more a predatory team with a still developing half court game. Both squads are very tough and rugged (as most Middle Eastern teams are) but can be pressured into making mistakes due to inexperience with top-notch competition.
Again, the main problem Gilas will have is their unfamiliarity with their competition. Game tapes and scouts information should be a priority for Gilas as the worst thing that could happen is for us to be on the wrong side of a historic upset.  
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Gilas 3.0: Smaller, Faster, Nastier.

We are one week away from the FIBA-ASIA Championships and by now, the lineup for Gilas Pilipinas has been all but finalized.

Which means it’s time for us to analyze exactly what the strengths and weaknesses of Gilas 3.0 are.
SPEED – They say “speed kills”. In the case of Gilas 3.0’s upcoming opponents, this may actually prove to be true. The addition of players like Terence Romeo, Calvin Abueva and Matt Ganuelas-Rosser to cat-quick players like Jayson Castro and Gabe Norwood has given Gilas 3.0 end-to-end speed that promises to give other Asian teams a lot of trouble. So far, only Japan and maybe South Korea seem to have the quickness needed to keep up with Gilas.

ATHLETICISM – Matt Ganuelas-Rosser, Terence Romeo, Jayson Castro, Calvin Abueva, Gabe Norwood and Marc Pingris are all above average athletes. Against the likes of Iran and China, Gilas would really have to rely on this athleticism to offset the other team’s considerable height advantage. It would be interesting to see MGR/Norwood take on Iran’s Kamrani (a very strong and athletic point guard) in an effort to disrupt the Iranian system.
TOUGHNESSS – Old hands Asi Taulava and Sonny Thoss together with new recruits Calvin Abueva and, weirdly enough, JC Intal showed in the Jones Cup that they can be as physical as they need to be. The game versus Russia was a great case study, as well as the game versus Iran (even though Gilas lost that one). Taulava and Thoss never backed down against taller, heftier opponents, who needed to physically manhandle the duo to get their points. Even then, only Haddadi was truly too much for the pair. Abueva was a revelation as well, as his peskiness (often to the dismay of his PBA opponents) translated well in the international game.
HEIGHT – This goes without saying. Even with the still rotund Andray Blatche on the roster, we will be among the smallest teams in the tournament. Ranidel de Ocampo is a great stretch four in the PBA but in FIBA Asia tourneys, he’ll be guarded by quick small forwards who’ll still be more than a couple of inches taller. And that’s going to be case in every position, except for when Blatche is in the lineup.
SHOOTING – Gilas 3.0 has one certified shooter: Dondon Hontiveros. The others are all scorers who can hit jumpers on occasion. Gabe Norwood has been particularly bad lately, Ganuelas-Rosser has barely taken any, Abueva and Intal are unreliable and RDO still has not recovered his touch after missing time with an injury.
COHESION – Gilas 3.0 is racing against the clock, in terms of preparation time. We can’t ignore the fact that the team has improved immensely in the last 3 weeks or so but we also can’t ignore the fact that every other national team has had more preparation time than Gilas had. The chemistry is much better now than during the Estonia tournament you have to wonder how much better they would be if they had 3 months to prepare instead of just basically a month and a half.
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