Brazil's head coach braces for FIBA OQT semis clash vs 'highly technical' Gilas

Brazil gets set for a showdown against "highly technical" Gilas Pilipinas in the FIBA OQT semis. FIBA
By Ivan Saldajeno

MANILA--Having to play the second game of the Thursday night (Latvian Time) doubleheader in the FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament gave Brazil's head coach Aleksandar Petrovic enough time to scout both Gilas Pilipinas and Georgia ahead of a potential semifinal battle on Saturday.

Both Gilas and Brazil eventually got their jobs done by not letting Georgia and Cameroon, respectively, score blowout wins to knock them out of contention and set a semifinal date in the process.

When asked about what to expect, though, from Gilas, Petrovic, the older brother of the late NBA legend Drazen Petrovic, somehow gave raves to the Philippine team.

"The Philippines is a highly technical team with excellent players. Four or five of them play more than 33 minutes," Petrovic said early Friday (Philippine Time).

Based on the averages, though, only two players log in more than 33 minutes a game, Justin Brownlee (38.4) and Dwight Ramos (33.2).

Chris Newsome and June Mar Fajardo are close enough at 30 and almost 29 minutes per game, respectively.

Had he not been sidelined the rest of the way against Georgia after an apparent bruised rib, Kai Sotto would have been playing way more than his current average of 22.2 minutes per game.

Despite the actual figures, Petrovic was talking about these five players, who started the game for Gilas during the group stages.

Depending on how much pain he can tolerate, though, Sotto's minutes could be monitored, and he might even come off the bench in the crucial knockout battle with the winner moving one step closer to earning a place in the Paris Olympics.

Japeth Aguilar and Carl Tamayo, who played quality minutes for Gilas with Sotto out, are expected to step up again against Brazil.

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