Finally!!! After losing an ‘obviously-won’ game against Chinese Taipei last Friday, the Philippines’ Smart Gilas Team came back with an eye-popping 90-71 shellacking over a hapless Japanese side today. Surely, no one expected a tsunami to demolish a respectable basketball team like Japan!
Gone was the opening-minute slack which the Smart Gilas Team had been notorious for. Gone too was the occasional lack of focus on the defensive end. Gone was the controlled and anemic offensive pace that characterized that forgettable 4th quarter against the Taiwanese squad.
Instead, what the Japanese witnessed was an all-business Gilas team that pounded an early 5-0 blast, never to look back. What they inherited from Friday’s Gilas debacle was a defense that was so stingy, with help-defense coming from all angles, and with quick switches and great communication from a team obviously eager to atone for the lapses of the previous game.
No longer were there easy shots with our storm-troopers chasing the enemy snipers everywhere. And with the interior defense starring Marcus, Japeth, Marc and that gentle giant, Jun Mar, putting on their meanest, baddest, ugliest game-faces, nothing could go wrong.
We marveled at the zooming and the zipping of our speed triplets: Jason, Jimmy and LA. We roared in unison as the booming guns of Larry, Rani, Gary and Jeff opened fire in anger. And we rejoiced as the Gilas offense flowed like a basketball symphony: fast-fast-slow, in-in-out. Which would end with a clear bludgeoning. Bing-bang-boom!!
Everyone played their hearts out today. Gabe was an anchor on both ends of the court. The crowd provided the all-too-important 6th man for the team. Everyone was psyched up, feeding off from each other’s energy.
Coach Chot and his staff should be commended for a job well done. For instilling that sense of urgency among our players. For preparing hard against a Japanese squad which we have not beaten by such a large margin since way, way back (can’t recall when we had such a lopsided win over Japan). And for giving our legion of fans something to be proud of, something to look forward to again.
This is what Smart Gilas should be all about. All business. United. With a singular focus. And an attitude that will send a message across – be it to a Yi Jianlian or a Hamed Haddadi, or even a Lebron James. That we will not be cowed, we will not be trampled upon, we will never back down. This is our territory, our homecourt. This is OUR tournament.
(Photos courtesy of TV5, InterAksyon, smartgilaspilipinas.com, phpromosblogspot.com, allanistheman.com)