Dominating the paint and the perimeter
This is another old school philosophy applied by Philippines that I saw during the Kazakhstan FIBA game where the concept was a great asset, at the same time, a big burden for the Philippines.
In the 80s, 90s and 2000s, the team which took control of the paint with a dominant bigman and the perimeter with snipers usually had the bigger probability to win the game.
That’s not always true today.
Gilas did use this philosophy in the Kazakhstan game. The Philippines went with dominant bigs to go along with shooters.
It got a double bladed result.
Gilas owned the paint
It worked on the offensive side. They dominated the paint and got off enough attempts in the perimeter and in rainbow country to keep the Kazakhstan defense honest and extended.
Gilas did made a living in the shaded lane, either by posting up or by penetrating.
The Philippines fired a total of 60 two-point shot attempts that resulted to them outscoring Kazakhstan 50 to 28 in the paint.
June Ma Fajardo was 4 of 8 and Japeth Aguilar was 2/3 mainly from post ups and putbacks while Stanley Pringle was 8 of 14, Scottie Thompson 3/4, Marcio Lassiter 2/2, and Gabe Noorwood 2/3 mainly from penetrations and drives.
The Philippine also got an identical 18 second chance points to the only 8 of the Kazakhs and 18 offensive rebounds to the also 8 only of the Kazakhs.
Fajardo had 7 offensive rebounds, almost outrebounding the entire Kazakh team in the offensive end. Nobody in the Kazakhstan team did more than the 2 of Anton Bykov.
It also gave the Philippines 83 total attempts from the floor compared to the just 49 of the Kazakhs.
That humongous disparity should have been game over in favor for Gilas.
Paint domination a liability in defense
The Kazakhs, however, countered it with a brilliant ploy as they took a play from the Mike D’Antoni Books: attempting only either threes or lay-ups.
They took a balanced 26 attempts from two and 23 from three point lands. Only five of their two point attempts are taken outside out the paint. They even made two of them.
The Philippines defense has no answer for this offense that night.
Their bigmen are usually parked in the middle to protect the paint and the switching of defensive assignments were a mess as a Kazakhstan shooter is left open for a three point attempt.
Adding woes was Kazakhstan’s remaining hot from three point land throughout the entire game that forced Gilas to extend the defense and open the lane.
They made 57% of their attempts, 61.5% from two and 52.2% from rainbow territory.
Gilas almost pulled it off
Gilas almost pulled it off with this philosophy.
The defense actually did okay but had trouble with this particular aspect of the Kazakh offense.
It did forced Kazakhstan to commit 21 turnovers that resulted to 32 turnover points to the Philippines. In contrast, Gilas yielded 22 points on 14 turnovers.
Head Coach Yeng Guiao said it appropriately when he pointed out that the Philippines gave up too many fouls that resulted to too many free throws. All in all, Kazakhstan was given 34 attempts from the line.
Given up freethrows are not the only problem
I have to add, though, that such was not the culprit alone.
The Philippines would have easily defeated Kazakhstan despite giving up that many free throws if they were not awful from the perimeter.
They took 15 shots from medium range and made only 2!
Lassiter was 0 for 3. Fajardo, Alex Cabagnot, and Norwood are 0 for 2. Aguilar, Beau Belga, and Greg Slaughter failed to convert their sole attempts. Only LA Tenorio (1/1) and Matthew Wright (1/2) were able to connect.
On a lesser impact, their paint domination was not as dominant as they just converted 60.47 % of their attempts (26 of 43), still lower than Kazakhstan’s two points efficiency, and they did not get enough fouls to go to the line. They got only 15 attempts and converted 10 of them.
Stopping the James Hardens of Asia
Nevetheless, its the D’Antoni offense that probably did them in, catching them off guard as they either allowed an easy lay-up or a foul that resulted to free throws.
It is not also the first time Kazakhstan employed this offense. It is, in fact, how they approached almost every game during these qualifiers. It was, however, more highlighted during games against Iraq, Japan and Qatar.
The use of this offense is very rampant nowadays. The Australian Boomers also used this set up.
This is now the challenge to the Gilas defense. They should have seen this coming as this offense is very popular. It’s what James Harden, Chris Paul, and the Rockets do in the NBA. Its what they do now to limit its potential.
By: ARMANDO M. BOLISLIS
Banner photo: LAYUPS AND THREES – The Philippines had difficulty in containing the D’Antoni offense adopted by Kazakhstan during their latest FIBA Qualifiers match that resulted in opportunities like this an uncontested three attempt by Alexandr Zhigulin. Photo and shot chart images from fiba.basketball