Thursday, April 23, 2009

Team Pilipinas vs North All-Star Result: What Did The Nationals Learn?

Team Pilipinas vs North All Star Result? Team Pilipinas destroyed North All-Star team 98 - 80 in a very lackluster game to post its first win in the 2009 Motolite Philippine Basketball Association All-Star Weekend. The match was competitive - in the first few minutes as the North All-Star posted a small lead (18 -2 ). Lack of teamwork took its toll on North All-Star as the better prepared Team Pilipinas took initiative and when they seized the lead 28 -23, Team Pilipinas never looked back. It was a beating from then on even with Tiras Wade and Jahmar Thorpe leading the way for the North All-Star. Yes, the North All-Star team is talented but with virtually no teamwork it is no match for Team Pilipinas which is in training since January. Frankly speaking, Team Pilipinas learned nothing of significance from this game maybe except some ego boost or false sense of security whatever you call it.

I'm a big Team Pilipinas fan and I want them to succeed. I think Fiba-Asia Club Championship (May 12 - 20, 2009 I think) would have been a better training ground for the Nationals and I wonder why they didn't take on the invitation. Rajko Toroman's Team Pilipinas (composed of amateurs) will be the ones playing in the tough tournament instead when in the short term it is the PBA Team Pilipinas which needs it the most.

What about the 1990 PBA-reinforced national team? Yes, Robert Jaworski's squad had two weeks training and got the silver medal at the Asian Games, what about it? Is silver medal enough? Their target was to win but didn't accomplish it. (Besides, that was nineteen years ago the basketball world evolved so much. Back then USSR, Yugoslavia and the USA dominate the world basketball stage. Now, only the United States is left and new countries emerged such as Spain and Argentina.) West Asian countries weren't as tough then as they are now - in short the Asian basketball wasn't as competitive then as it is now. Today, Western Asian teams have European coaches and their players have solid basketball fundamentals. In fact, Iran defeated Serbia on pre-Olympic tune up match and even played in the NBA Summer League. We can't afford not to send our team to more international basketball competitions anymore esp. if the country is serious about winning or at least qualifying for the 2010 FIBA World Championship in Turkey - play more tournaments abroad. I know the PBA bigwigs are well aware of this but due to commercial considerations it just can't or won't do it.

Man, the Fiba-Asia Club Championship would have given Team Pilipinas an idea on where their preparation level is at the moment and how would they fare against top regional squads. They can correct any deficiencies the team has --- at an earlier stage of preparation than in the Jones Cup in July (the continental championship is on September). Playing against mediocre squad (Sharks from Australia) and hastily formed opposition like the North All-Star with players clueless with the international rules as some in the national team brings almost no benefit at all. Don't be afraid that the other teams might scout Team Pilipinas in the club championship as we get to observe the opponent too. Yes, it may not be the other countries' real national team but most of the squads involved (like Lebanon) have players in the respective NT. It goes both ways.

If they want to measure their progress, our squad should play the best opposition available.

Let me make this clear, I'm not hating - these type of write ups often lead to ugly internet brawls between keyboard warriors. It is mostly due to misunderstanding for some people view these kinds of articles as unpatriotic instead of what it is --- an advocacy.

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