MANILA — Folios Katsikaris, coach of the Greece national basketball team, admitted that he is now a fan of Gilas Pilipinas after seeing the Filipinos push the Argentinians to the limit.
With that, he expressed his contentment that his team followed his lead when he said to take the Philippine national team seriously when they faced each other.
“I have some friends in the Philippines who told me that basketball back there is like a religion,” according to the 47-year-old coach. “They told me that it was going to be very, very tough when we play Gilas.”
Katsikaris shared that at first, no one believed him when they were viewing the tapes of the Philippine team. With that, they first thought that the Filipinos will be easy preys given that they do not have the height.
“It’s a good thing that they listened to me, ultimately,” Katsikaris said. “It took me a long time to convince them. Had they not believed me, we would have been the one (who lost).”
Greece, ranked fifth in the globe, survived a physical game with the Philippines, 82-70. This made Katsikaris label the team as “dangerous in playing the game.”
The following day, the Greek coach saw the Filipinos lost a close game, 85-51, with third-seeded team in the world Argentina.
“I was very, very happy that we stayed focused because of what we saw with the Argentina game the next day, I was happy we won,” Katsikaris said.