22 - 31
July 2016
6 Gian Robert MAMUYAC (Philippines)
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Philippines want heart to overcome lack of height

MANILA (2016 FIBA Asia U18 Championship) - As is so often the case, Philippines hope their heart and determination will make up for a lack of size at the 2016 FIBA Asia U18 Championship. 

Philippines coach Michael Oliver has a mixed bag of feelings heading into the tournament from 22-31 July in Iran.

“We are excited and concerned at the the same time,” Oliver said. “Excited because we were able to qualify for the FIBA Asia U18 Championship in Iran. Concern because we are quite a small team in terms of height and kids are getting bigger every year.”

As always (our strengths and weaknesses are) the double H - heart and height. - Oliver

Philippines haven’t finished in the top three at FIBA Asia U18 Championship since 1992. But Oliver is hoping to snap that streak this summer. 

“Winning the championship will always be our main goal,” Oliver said. 

When asked about his team’s strengths and weaknesses, the coach added: “As always the double H - heart and height.”

Jolo Mendoza got excellent experience at the 2014 FIBA U17 Worlds. 

Philippines will not have a lot of players with international experience among their ranks. One of the few is Jolo Mendoza, who played at the 2014 FIBA U17 World Championship. 

“Jolo will be a good contender for the final 12 because of his experience at the FIBA U17 World Championship,” Oliver said. 

At the same time, the coach offered: “Previous experience will be an advantage but the heart will win you the games.”

Oliver also expects players like Josh Sinclair and Gian Mamuyac to be leaders for the team in Iran. Still, it will take a total team effort to get Philippines to the FIBA U19 World Championship. 

Philippines’ last appearance at the FIBA U19 Worlds came in 1979. But Oliver doesn’t want to dwell on the past. 

“Whether we reached the Worlds way back in 1979 or even if we qualified in 2015, the importance of winning and to qualify for the U19 Worlds in 2017 will always be the same,” Oliver said. 

And there will always be the issue of heart over height.