Gilas Women head coach Patrick Aquino fired up his team, citing the need for mental toughness and critical thinking as they head for the crucial stretch of their preparation for the FIBA Asia Cup set from 26 June to 3 July at the Sydney Olympic Park in Australia.
During their training session on Thursday, Aquino reminded his wards the importance of reading the defense and encouraged them to become serious students of the game.
He said they should watch the games of elite teams like China, Japan, Chinese Taipei, Australia, China, Lebanon and Jordan to see what they need to become a solid squad in the international arena.
“I want you to watch the games of China and Japan in the Olympics, Asia Cup or Asian Games,” Aquino said.
“Even Chinese Taipei. You can see the difference at how they play and the difference at how we play the game. Try to watch the other games of Chinese Taipei, their games against Australia and China. I also encourage you to watch the division finals of Lebanon and Jordan.”
Viewing and studying their opponents would be essential for Gilas in knowing their more crack rivals in the prestigious continental tourney.
‘Everybody competing in major international tournaments has talent.’
Aquino said basketball requires not just skills, but intelligence, especially at the women’s level.
He had experienced that in the recent 32nd Southeast Asian Games when eventual gold medalist Indonesia came out with a solid game plan to dethrone the Filipinas.
The Indonesians were coached by Chi-Wen Lin, the former star player of Chinese Taipei.
“Everybody competing in major international tournaments has talent,” Aquino said.
“But reading the kind of talent of your opponent, their strengths and weaknesses, when to go over and under the screens, when to switch, you have to think and not just play.”
Aside from firing up his team, Aquino also accommodated some practice players like National Capital Region Most Valuable Player Eula Atienza of De La Salle Dasmariñas as well as Jerell Mae Banih, Lovely Altamirano and Kath Sumarago of Centro Escolar University.
All players from the pool were present except for Clare Castro, who is still attending personal matters.
Gilas star Ella Fajardo believes the team’s preparations had already shifted to high gear and they want to improve their level of play to bounce back from a forgettable SEA Games performance.
“Everything is a stepping stone for us,” Fajardo said.
“But I guess the standard now is gold, but there’s a purpose for everything. Now we have something even better to chase. Now, we’re tweaking everything — from offense to defense. You need to adjust to everything since this is FIBA Asia.”