MANILA, Philippines – Heading into their first game of the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2019 Asian Qualifiers, Japan's primary concern is trying to limit an explosive Smart Gilas Pilipinas team.
In a report on the FIBA website, Japan's star point guard, Yuki Togashi, revealed that they are counting on their speed to try and counter the Filipinos' offense.
"I think speed will be important, especially in our first game against the Philippines, which is a great offensive team," said Togashi.
"The Philippines are very strong with their one-on-one plays," he also said. "It's as if they are playing street ball."
Given this, Japan will have to be careful, said Togashi, because Gilas Pilipinas can score points in bunches. "They can score 10 points in just a minute or two," he noted.
Defense, hence, is a priority for Japan.
"We have to step up on defense, including myself, and then from there we have to make sure to get the defensive rebounds, which has been a problem for us," said Togashi, a 5-foot-6 guard who studied in the United States in high school before returning to Japan.
"If we can get the rebounds, I can run the fastbreak," the 24-year-old added.
Japan will host Gilas Pilipinas at the Komazawa Gym on November 24. The Japanese will be trying to build on their campaign in the 2017 FIBA Asia Cup, where they advanced to the second round before bowing to Korea.
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