Philippine head coach Yeng Guiao previously said that the team has to get bigger but at the same time quicker and more skilled once it goes up against Iran in the second round of the Fiba World Cup Asian Qualifiers.
And Guiao couldn’t have timed his wish perfectly.
Returning to the team is versatile big man Troy Rosario who’s finished serving his three-game suspension Fiba slapped on him after getting involved in a brawl against Australia’s national team in the previous round of the competition.
At 6-foot-7, Rosario mainly plays power forward for his club team TNT in the PBA but he will be utilized as a small forward to defend against Iran’s wings.
He’ll join Arwind Santos, who at 6-foot-4, is also a power forward in the PBA, as Gilas Pilipinas’ primary wing defenders with the goal to stop Iran’s Mohammad Jamshidi and Benham Yakchalidehkordi.
Yakchalidehordi is Iran’s primary offensive threat from the wing, averaging of 14.2 points per game.
“I’m excited to redeem myself after what happened in the third window,” said Rosario in Filipino Sunday at Mall of Asia Arena after the team’s practice. “This is the time to bounce back after our loss to Kazakhstan.”
Gilas Pilipinas lost to the Kazakhs, 92-88, in their previous game that sent them to a 5-4 record and a third-place tie with Japan in Group F.
A win will give the Philippines shared ownership of the second spot and a better momentum-builder for its inclusion to the 2019 Fiba Basketball World Cup.
The top three teams from Groups E and F and the better of the fourth placers will advance to the World Cup that will be held in China.
Rosario said the team can rely on its newfound quickness especially since he can play as a small forward and a shooting guard if the need arises.
“Arwind and I are on the team for defensive purposes and that’s our job,” said Rosario. If Arwind and I can make some buckets, those are just bonuses for us.”
“We have the quickness in our position, be it the three or the four, and I can also switch on defense because I can also defend guards.”
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