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Everyone has to be ready, not necessarily on the three-point shot but be ready to knock down that open jumper when Clarkson attracts attention.

GILAS Pilipinas has to knock down its shots from deep if it wants to go far in the FIBA Basketball World Cup. | Photograph Courtesy Of FIBA

Outside shooting — or the lack thereof — could spell the difference between winning and losing in the FIBA Basketball World Cup.

World Cup veterans Larry Fonacier, Gary David and Jeff Chan were in unison in claiming that Gilas Pilipinas should strike from long range if it wants to go far in the 32-nation conclave that is set to open on Friday at the Philippine Arena in Bocaue, Bulacan.

Fonacier, who played the role of a perimeter gunner during the FIBA Asia Men’s Championship in 2013 and the World Cup in 2014, said he expects everybody on the floor to knock down their jumpers if ever they get an opportunity.

He said naturalized player Jordan Clarkson is expected to attract a lot of defenders so Filipino gunners like Roger Pogoy, Kiefer Ravena, Scottie Thompson and Dwight Ramos should be ready to drain their perimeter jumpers against taller, more athletic defenders.

“The outside shot is a
game-changer, especially if they double on Clarkson. Everyone has to be ready, not necessarily on the three-point shot but be ready to knock down that open jumper when Clarkson attracts attention,” said Fonacier, a noted gunner from Ateneo de Manila University.

“With the World Cup being held here at home, that’s a huge advantage for us. And it wasn’t just for us but for the Filipino crowd that is eager to bring back the glory.”

David added that Gilas need to have consistent shooting.

“In the international stage, it’s important you are consistent from the outside. International players are big so it’s important for your shooting clicks,” David, who delivered the clutch jumpers in their FIBA Asia semis match against South Korea in 2013, said.

“Let’s trust our players and cheer them on.”

While both players commented on Gilas’ shooting, Chan offered different advice for Gilas when they face Karl-Anthony Towns and the Dominican Republic in the opener.

Chan, a pure shooter who remains active in the Philippine Basketball Association, said Gilas have to be disciplined against the Dominicans to pull off an upset and roar to a strong start.

After all, a win over the Dominicans would boost their bid to become the top-performing Asian team that will earn an automatic spot in the Paris Olympics.

“Basketball is a 50/50 game. As long as we’re prepared and follow the game plan, hopefully we can get the first win,” Chan said.

“It’s important we get the first game because it will be a big confidence boost for the next game. I know the Dominicans have NBA players with them but if they played with their hearts, it’s a 50/50 ballgame.”

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