THE Philippine team hopes to bury the ghost of its stunning loss to Kazakhstan as it plays Iran today in another daunting task for the Filipinos in the fifth window of the Fiba World Cup qualifiers.
The Filipinos need to beat the Iranians in the 7 p.m. encounter at the Mall of Asia Arena to keep alive their bid for earning a berth in next year’s World Cup in China.
With its tall men unable to keep pace with the Kazakhstan’s fleet-footed big players, the Philippines suffered a heart-rending 92-88 loss last Friday, badly hurting their campaign to reach the China joust.
As a result, the Filipinos fell to 5-4 in a share for third and fourth places with Japan, which revved its own bid after an 85-47 win over Qatar also last Friday.
Meanwhile, the coaching staff, headed by Yeng Guiao, has tapped Christian Standhardinger as the team’s naturalized player to replace Stanley Pringle.
Guiao said the team will lose Stanley’s scoring, his aggressiveness, as well as his leadership at the point position, but would gain quickness with the addition of Standhardinger.
The move is meant to keep pace with Iran’s big men in the battle.
Arwind Santos of San Miguel Beer, Troy Rosario, and Jayson Castro had also been added to the team that retained Barangay Ginebra players Japeth Aguilar, LA Tenorio, and Scottie Thompson, along with Beau Belga, Gabe Norwood, SMB’s Marcio Lassiter and and June Mar Fajardo, and Matthew Wright.
Santos will be seeing action for the national team for the first time since playing in 2009 Fiba Asia Championship in a team also coached by Guiao.
“We still have one game on Monday, and we can’t feel too negative about ourselves,” said Guiao. “I think we can salvage the situation if we’re able to play a good game against Iran.”
The Filipinos failed to stop Kazakhstan’s Alexandr Zhigulin, who was consistent from outside on the way to finishing with 30 points, including six three pointers.
“We’re still a long way from being the team that we really want to be and be able to exploit our potentials,” said Guiao, who promised adjustments will definitely be made for the Iran game.