With Team Gilas Pilipinas going hard against a veteran-laden team in Thailand last Friday in the 2021 Fiba Asia Cup qualifiers, Gilas captain Mike Nieto was amazed at how the young Gilas Pilipinas exceeded expectations during the match but expresses that the team has considerable lapses to improve.

/ 29 November 2020

Nieto relishes after their stint performance defeating Thailand and expresses how much of a fighter the young Filipino squad is.

“Of course, we know the fact that we have a very young team. I think our average age is 21 to 22 years old and we’re facing a professional team in Thailand,” he said.

“But as Filipinos, we are all fighters. And given any circumstance, we’ll fight especially that we’re representing the country. We want to give honor and glory to the Philippines that no matter what happens, we’ll fight and I think we did that today,” the former Ateneo stalwart expressed. 

The young Gilas Pilipinas debuted a massive win against Thailand, 93-61, leaving the Thai team with 32 big points in the first of their two-game series in Manama, Bahrain.

The win certainly makes an early impression in the league as the crew composes of young players averaging 21-22 years old.

The squad overcame a powerhouse country composed of eight players from the core of Hi-Tech Bangkok City, the champions of the 2020 Thailand Basketball League, and two players namely Anucha Langsui and Anasawee Klaewnarong, from the Thai General Equipment.

“We’ve been preparing for two weeks for this Fiba window, but we offer no excuse and we take it one game at a time. I think today, we exemplified what true Filipinos are, that given whatever circumstance, we fight,” said Nieto.

Gilas now is preparing more than ever for its second game against Thailand and is looking to refine their mistakes during their first match.

Thailand had put up a good fight with our national team, shooting 10-of-28 from deep, good for 35-percent, to keep in step with the Philippines in the first quarter before the floodgates broke in the second period.

“Of course, we had some lapses during the game and we’ll have to take look at our mistakes so that we’ll be more prepared come the game on the 30th versus Thailand again,” he said.