BOCAUE – Tough losses against Mongolia and Canada showed Gilas Pilipinas’ inexperience despite having enough individual talent to go toe-to-toe with any player in the FIBA 3×3 World Cup.
Pair that with the fact that the Philippine men’s team only had roughly three weeks of practice together in between PBA games, and you already have two factors spelling the difference between a quarterfinals spot and elimination.
“I look at it more as a learning experience,” Pringle said about their two losses in the 3×3 World Cup. “No excuses, but we had about three weeks to get used to the ball and the rules. And those guys, we give them all the credit ‘cause playing together for all those years… that’s what edged us out because they knew what to do at the end game.”
Gilas Pilipinas lost leads in both matches that they lost. Against Mongolia, they erected an 8-2 lead early after an open two-pointer from Roger Pogoy. Meanwhile versus Canada, Pogoy’s torrid run, capped off by two shots at the line, put the team up by 18-16 late in the game.
Exhaustion and lack of familiarity might have led to their end-game miscues, and the GlobalPort star acknowledged just as much.
“I think when we get into another end game, we should set more ball screens like they did because you’re allowed to do more hand-checking on the ball. We were trying too much iso,” he said.
The team’s spirits are high, though. For a hastily-assembled team that’s adjusting to the pace and physicality of the 3×3 game, Pringle noted that Gilas Pilipinas’ run in the tournament is already impressive in itself.
“We’ve had three weeks of practice and they’ve been playing together for years. I think we gave them a good run for their money. They were shocked, I believe,” said Pringle.
And after stepping up to place himself among the World Cup’s more prolific players, the 31-year-old guard said that he wouldn’t mind suiting up for the Philippine uniform in 3×3 again – especially if he gets to experience playing in front of a boisterous crowd that supported them all the way.
“It was a great experience. I expected the crowd to show the crazy support. I pictured it, but it’s a totally different thing when you actually get to play for the country and put the jersey on. It was overwhelming,” Pringle explained,
“If they need me to play, they can give me a call. I’m ready.”
(photo from FIBA)