Milos Teodosic showed flashes of the skills that made him one of the biggest names in the European basketball scene during Gilas Pilipinas’ 83-76 loss to host Serbia in the FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament.
Coach Tab Baldwin said Teodosic created plenty of problems for guards RJ Abarrientos and SJ Belangel with his heady playmaking that was also instrumental in Serbia pulling off an escape act in their OQT match held Thursday, July 1 in Belgrade.
Teodosic came off the bench to finish with 13 points, four rebounds and six assists.
“I think Milos Teodosic presented a lot of problems for us, and his ball-screen play was tough for us to handle,” Baldwin said. “We changed our defense and we started showing up on the screen trying to get the ball off of his hands and that was effective to some sort of degree.
“But just Serbia’s ability to get the ball to the right people on the right occasions, with Boban (Marjanovic) scoring big and scoring late and Milos controlling the offensive game, our defense was always under pressure by those guys,” added Baldwin.
It was one of the issues Baldwin pointed out after facing a high-caliber team like Serbia for the first time since forming a roster of youngsters from the collegiate ranks and the Gilas pool.
And that’s something Gilas hopes to fix in time for the crucial match against Dominican Republic for a spot in the Belgrade OQT semis.
“I think offensively, our cohesion isn’t near where we wanted to be,” he said. “We haven’t played a team of that caliber and that intelligence Serbia plays the game with, so we were scrambling a lot.
“But I don’t think you wanna criticize your team for scrambling but also you don’t want that to be the character of your team offensively, you wanna have more cohesion.
“So a lot of work to do but we need to put this game behind us and get ready for Dominican Republic,” he added.
Meanwhile, Teodosic said Serbia’s performance left plenty to be desired after being pushed to the limit by the young Gilas squad.
“At some point, we were relaxed. We played irresponsibly. That resulted in us playing an uncertain ending. We must not allow that,” Teodosic said as quoted by FIBA on its website.