FIBA World Cup 2019: 3 Talking Points from Philippines vs Serbia
After a more than disappointing showing against Italy, Philippines faced Serbia on September 2 and looked to at least show a little more heart against the heavy favorites of the tournament. To no surprise, however, the full-forced Serbians obliterated the Filipino gunners and finished the game 126-67.
This 59-point blowout is currently the largest losing margin in the tournament, and it makes the average margin loss for the Philippines at 52.5--the worst point difference among all 32 teams.
The game proved just how behind the Philippine basketball program is as compared to Serbia and other top European teams. Here, we look at 3 talking points from Philippines vs. Serbia.
#3 Andray Blatche needs to go
Andray Blatche, the naturalized player that the Philippines tapped to supposedly reinforce the team, was just horrible in the last two games. Just from the eye test, the center looked so out of shape and was always late to rotations. He held onto the ball for too long, dribbling from the three-point line to the rim for a layup as if he was a light, speedy point guard. And if he wasn't successful in getting to his spot, he would continue to iso and shoot heavily contested shots.
In the game against Italy, Blatche chucked up 15 points from 13 attempts and had 9 turnovers. As if his performance could not get any worse, he only had 5 points against Serbia from 10 shot attempts, 7 of which were from downtown. The center shot more threes than the team's guards and small forwards!
Blatche's volume shooting may have worked in the past, and he may actually have actually been a great defender in the paint before, but he has just been a negative in this World Cup. June Mar Fajardo, who was limping lightly because of his ankle, performed better than him and was actually able to defend his man in the paint well.
Gilas Pilipinas needs to find another naturalized player who has a full grasp of his role and cares enough to undergo proper conditioning before playing at such an important stage. They need someone more athletic who actually loves playing for the Philippines. Could it be Chris McCullough, perhaps?