by Waylon Galvez
Despite dropping their first two games, Gilas Pilipinas Youth head coach Sandy Arespacochaga believes the team is getting better but it still needs to play with more passion as the Nationals battle the Russians in the second round of the FIBA Under-19 World Cup in Heraklion, Greece.
The absence of Filipino-Cypriot forward AJ Edu failed to hamper their determination as the Nationals gave the Argentines a big scare before bowing, 77-72, last Monday.
Edu injured his knee during the team’s 85-69 loss to host squad.
“Our players were up to the task,” said Arespacochaga. “We ended up short of winning. But our players played really well and fought with a lot of heart in the two games we played.”
The national team still has a game against Russia, which will be played 8 p.m. Tuesday (1:30 a.m. Wednesday Manila time), and the outcome will determine the placing of Gilas Youth in the crossover knockout stage.
The first round of the event is a classification stage to determine the placing of teams going to the crossover knockout round, as teams from Group C will face off with teams in Group D.