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Gilas loss to Jordan learning experience ahead of World Cup

CHICAGO – The beating was swift and decisive. Early and brutal.

Jordan 33. Philippines 14.

And the deficit sank deeper to 16-41 at the 7:56 mark of the second quarter.

Unlike Lebanon, which traveled without its four best players and had no appetite to compete during a 107-96 loss last Friday, it was clear that the Jordanians came to play.

And Gilas wasn’t ready. Didn’t have the energy and enthusiasm.

The fault is not in our stars and players. The blame lies in those not wearing shorts. Gifting the opponents a 19-point head start reflects a lack of preparation that the coaching staff is responsible for.

Gilas struggled to defend Jordan’s pick-and-roll and it took an entire half for coach Chot Reyes to realize that June Mar Fajardo, who went scoreless in 11 minutes and 45 seconds of action, was a liability against the much more nimble Jordanians.

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Gilas did make an adjustment by employing a switching defense, a strategy I assumed Tim Cone suggested because Ginebra employs this scheme a whole lot.

The tactical maneuver proved golden as Jordan coach Wesam Al-Sous didn’t have an idea how to attack a switching defense, turning a budding rout into a last-second heart-stopper.

BUT THE CHANGE WAS TOO LATE, THE WOUNDS TOO DEEP.

Why did coach Reyes and Cone wait until Jordan had already drilled 12-of-24 from 3 before summoning the switching defense?

Given that Jordan barely had an existent inside game, scoring just 24 points in the paint, plugging the 3 in a timely fashion was imperative.

This humbling in front of a massive home crowd was a revelation.

Gilas, as presently constituted, will not do well in the World Cup. Not unless it shores up the point guard slot and brings in more shooters.

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Dwight Ramos, Bobby Ray Parks, CJ Perez, Mason Amos and Fajardo combined for just 21 points on 5-of-25 shooting from the field, an awful 20 percent accuracy.

With 41 points, 12 rebounds and three assists, Justin Brownlee proved once again that he can play all around.

Sadly, he can’t play all alone.

Kiefer Ravena had zero points. His brother Thirdy and Kevin Quiambao had as much playing time as I did.

Giving them coveted slots and not using them is not only puzzling, it lends ammunition to critics’ claims that the selection process is advantageous to the famous and to those who have clout.

SCHONNY WINSTON WAS AVAILABLE AND KILLING IT IN PRACTICE, I WAS TOLD.

I don’t see how putting him would have hurt. I don’t see how he could have done worse than shooting a tepid 20 percent from the field.

Unfortunately, Winston is a million pings away from Chot’s radar.

Reyes, sources told me, “hadn’t even spoken a word to Schonny,” and the Fil-Am. who had a falling out with LaSalle following a difference of opinion on the timeline of his return from injury, certainly doesn’t have the winds of influence to blow him into the roster.

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In lieu of the Ravenas and Quiambao, Gilas could have gotten more production from Raymond Almazan and Chris Newsome.

But they couldn’t come because their mother team – the Meralco Bolts – had games in the Governor’s Cup last Thursday and Sunday.

Apparently, the PBA’s cooperation in adjusting its schedule to make room for manpower availability applies only to guys who play for TNT and an SMC team.

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Once again, politics and favoritism appears to have gotten in the way of a proper selection process.

And that’s why we saw another horror show written from an oddly familiar script.

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