‘Nilalabas lang natin ang laro natin’: Abueva said Gilas didn’t underestimate Myanmar

Calvin Abueva - Gilas Pilipinas

Gilas Pilipinas opened the 2017 SEABA Championships in Manila, Philippines with a bang on Friday night as they totally outclassed Myanmar, 147-40.

Some may say that the way Gilas went hard at their lowly competitors for the entire match is too much, but wing man Calvin Abueva thinks otherwise.

“Dito, sinasabi nila na yun nga, overkill, pero actually, hindi naman eh, nilalabas lang natin ang laro natin, kasi ito yung lugar natin eh, ito yung nakakapagbigay ng motivation sa amin, ng saya, kaya nakakapaglaro kami ng maayos dahil sa suporta (nila),” Abueva said.

Abueva paced Gilas with an all-around effort of 22 points, six rebounds, four assists, five steals, and a block to lead nine players in double-digits for the Philippines.

The energetic Alaska Aces player also said giving out their complete effort at this level is a sign of respect for their foes.

“Sabi ni coach, takbo lang ng takbo, and as long as nasa right way yung paglalaro niyo, tsaka wag i-underestimate ang mga kalaban niyo. Kapag tayo nasa ibang lugar, ibang team, ina-underestimate tayo, nabubulag sila, katulad nung laban against Senegal na ganoon yung comeback ng Gilas. At least nakapanalo,” Abueva said, recalling Gilas’ win over Senegal at the 2014 FIBA World Cup.

Much has been prior to the SEABA about Gilas parading their senior roster in the tournament, but given the stakes, it was only necessary for Gilas to be in their best form possible.

“It’s a very fine line. If kung magbaboy naman kami, we don’t defend them, let them lay up, we don’t take shots or take haphazard shots and make haphazard plays, that’s a bigger sign of disrespect not only for the opponent but for the game,” Gilas head coach Chot Reyes said after the win.

“We talked a lot about playing the game the right way, winning the game the right way. And you know, for sure, even Myanmar, they wouldn’t want that. Again, we have been on the opposite end of these results. We know how it feels. And even if we were smaller and a lot less talented than the other teams, we didn’t expect them to go less because it is basketball.”

With only the winner of the tournament getting an opportunity to play for the 2017 FIBA Asia Cup in Lebanon later this year, Abueva said the national team should not take any chances even against this level of competition.

“Syempre andito muna tayo sa magaang ang kalaban pero don’t underestimate that. Maski hanggang dulo dapat maghanda tayo. Ito ang pinakaticket natin sa FIBA eh. Kailangan natin i-grab ‘to. ‘Wag natin sayangin,” he said.

Written by Levi Verora Jr
Photos by Glenn Michael Tan

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