FIBA Asia 2015 Preview: Gilas Pilipinas Basketball versus JAPAN 2
FIBA Asia 2015 Matchup Preview: Gunning for the Silver, Gilas Pilipinas Basketball battles anew Japan NT for their eighth game today October 2, in their knockout semifinals deathmatch at Changsha China, FIBA Asia 2015. Let us analyze the battle plans, court strategies and the player matchups that will unfold in this highly anticipated court war.
Japan Team Habayusa is in a three game winning streak as it battles Gilas Pilipinas tonight at 9:30PM. Japan upset Palestine, clobbered Hong Kong and defeated a strong Qatar squad. The Japanese team that RP Five defeated in this FIBA Asia preliminaries and the one in the Jones Cup 2015 is now a completely different team.
Struggling to find their rhythm albeit obviously missing a lot of key players, Japan is now more determined and more hungrier for the victory. They now have a legitimate chance to barge into the Finals, assure the Silver finish and avenge their preliminary loss from the Filipinos.
Surely, the Japanese may again employ the zone defense, to stifle the dribble drive system of the Filipinos. Yet, we will not be surprised if Japan suddenly resorts to the full court or trapping defense to negate Terrence Romeo and Jayson Castro’s speed. We expect Yuta Tabuse, Makoto Hiejima and Takatoshi Furukawa to harrass the Pinoy backcourt all game long.
Japan has no answer for RP Five’s Andray Blatche. Joji Takeuchi will surely have a hard time guarding the NBA veteran. Coach Kenji Hasegawa of Japan may switch Blatche’s defenders multiple times to disrupt the flow of Andray’s offense.
In their last game, Takeuchi only shot 13 points. We expect Takeuchi to test the waters and maybe bring Blatche to early foul woes. The gentle giant of Japan is also a stretch four or five and can bring the defense of Blatche outside the paint.
Furukawa was the missing link in their loss to the Philippines. The sweet shooting guard averages 11.3 PPG but made a dismal 7 markers against RP. If he can drop the long range bombs early in the game, Japan may just spring an upset. Of course, Calvin The Beast Abueva may have a different take of things for Furukawa come game time.
Hiejima will be tasked again to drive in the lane and open-up the wings for Japan. Castro and Romeo should be quick to react to either Tabuse and Hiejima. Pilipinas has shown inconsistent defense to lane penetrations. Think about the drives of Nikkhah Bahrami, Shamala, Bawji and Hiejima. It is one weakness that Gilas 3.0 must address as Japan may well exploit this.
Hustle, Rebounds and Defense will again be the key for Pilipinas. Last time around, they made 8 steals against Japan and forced 15 turnovers. RP also outrebounded the undermanned bigs of the East Asians – 43 to 37, the last time around.
Japan knows full well the proficiency and the skill set of the Filipino dribblers. This is where RP must be weary. This is after all a knockout game. Gilas should shy away from overconfidence and complacency. In basketball, underdogs should not be taken lightly. Let that infamous Palestine loss be a testament to that.
The initial standings and win-loss slate now mean nothing. Pilipinas must do everything in its ability to fend-off any upset plans that a determined Japan may have kept up in its sleeves. The initial victory of RP over Nippon is now in the record books. This is a completely different ballgame. This is now or never.
Current KUWAIT NT FIBA Ranking: 47
- Kenta Hirose • SF • 6’4 • 30
- Ryumo Ono • SF • 6’6 • 27
- Takatoshi Furukawa • SG • 6’3 • 27
- Daiki Tanaka • SG • 6’3 • 24
- Gaku Arao • PF • 6’6 • 28
- Keijuro Matsui • SG • 6’2 • 29
- Joji Takeuchi • PF • 6’9 • 30
- Ryoma Hashimoto • PG • 5’10 • 27
- Atsuya Ota • C • 6’9 • 31
- Makoto Hiejima • PG • 6’3 • 25
- Yuta Tabuse • PG • 5’8 • 34
- Head Coach Kenji Hasegawa
FIBA Asia Appearances: 4
FIBA World Appearances: 27