As the lone legitimate three-point shooter in Gilas Pilipinas, veteran Rain or Shine wingman Jeff Chan admitted the challenge is far greater as the national team prepares for the FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament in Manila.
With San Miguel guard Marcio Lassiter not able to recover in time to join the team’s current training camp in Karpenisi, Greece, Chan was left as the only pure shooter in Gilas.
“It (to be the marked man) has always been a challenge for me,” Chan said in a chat with FOX Sports on Thursday from Greece.
“Pero as a team yes, it is an added challenge for us because now, short tayo ng shooters,” he added.
The 6-2 former Far Eastern University standout said his other Gilas teammates will really have to be sharp come the actual FIBA competition since their opponents are sure to have scouted them as well.
“I think everyone dapat maging sharp, confident and consistent sa outside shooting para hindi lang isa ang babantayan ng kalaban,” shared the pride of Bacolod City, who played for Gilas in the 2014 Fiba World Cup in Seville, Spain.
“And I think mas mahirap bantayan yun kapag lahat kami ay mag connect sa labas.”
The left-handed Gilas shooter said coach Tab Baldwin and his assistants regularly give every member of the “final 14” some shooting drills to ensure everyone can knock down shots when left open.
“As a team naman, before mag-start ang practice, iyun (shooting) ang ginagawa namin lahat. May drills na binibigay ang coaches sa amin,” he added.
Gilas is already at the midway point of its 9-day training camp in Greece. The national squad will leave the mountain region of Karpenisi and will travel to Turkey to play the Turkish national men’s team early next week in a friendly match. – By Richard Dy
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