Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?


Gilas aim to close World Cup bid with a bang

GILAS Pilipinas have to play their best against China if they want to salvage some measure of pride in the FIBA Basketball World Cup. Photo by Joey Mendoza

It’s going to be a tense and emotional battle when Gilas Pilipinas confronts China in its final classification match game in the FIBA Basketball World Cup on Saturday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

Action starts at 8 p.m. with the Filipinos shooting for a win that will not only give them a strong finishing kick but will also allow them to salvage some measure of pride in this prestigious 32-nation event.

Gilas Pilipinas is looking to avoid becoming the host country since Colombia in 1982 to finish the World Cup without a single win. A victory would also allow the Filipinos to duplicate their feat in the 2014 World Cup in which they defeated Senegal in overtime, 81-79, in their last game.

But all previous records and statistics are expected to be thrown out of the window as Gilas Pilipinas coach Chot Reyes is looking to come up with a strong performance that will soothe the pain created by their very disappointing performance in their first four matches.

Gilas opened their bid with an 81-87 loss to the Dominican Republic before suffering a 70-80 setback to Angola and an 83-90 heartbreak to Italy that sent them crashing out of the medal rounds.

In the classification phase, the Filipinos absorbed a 68-87 loss to South Sudan, a war-torn country that only gained its independence in 2011.

“We just have to remind them what we’re playing for,” Reyes said in the aftermath of their loss to the South Sudanese headed by former National Basketball Association star Luol Deng and coached by Atlanta Hawks deputy Royal Ivey.

“Just play for the flag and country and we’re doing this as our way of serving the Philippines.”

Reyes said their encounter with China will be more than a game.

“Basically, we have to remind them that it’s more than just a ballgame or a win,” said Reyes, who has been under fire for the team’s underwhelming performance.

“It’s something larger, hopefully, ending it on a winning note and leaving a lasting impression. We’re facing the exact same situation we had the last time I coached in the World Cup in 2014 where we faced Senegal in our last game with no chance to advance. It’s the same situation now. We’ll try to put things together for one last push, knowing that there’s no bearing except pride, fight for country, service, which are exactly why we’re here in the first place.”

The Philippines is the only Asian country aside from Jordan and Iran who has yet to win in this world-class tournament.

China and Lebanon already posted separate wins on Thursday night while Japan collected its second victory to emerge as the frontrunner for the outright slot in the Paris Olympics next year.

On the contrary, the Philippines already kissed its Olympic chances goodbye via the virtue of its heartbreaking loss to the South Sudanese.

Still, Gilas have to worry about a bigger problem, China, which is fresh from an 83-76 conquest of Angola last Thursday.

China’s zone defense has been merciless as it limited the African powerhouse to a mere 5-of-26 shooting from the three-point area for an ugly 19 percent.

“No matter how difficult this job is, we’re here, we’re doing it, and hopefully, we can come in and play our best game on Saturday,” Reyes said.

Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You May Also Like


SOCIAL MEDIAManny Pacquiao knows his time is up. This was the keen observation made by a longtime member of his training team who spent...


SOCIAL MEDIAThe dynamic duo of Johnmar “OhMyV33nus” Villaluna and Danerie James “Wise” del Rosario is back with a bang after leading Blacklist International to...


SOCIAL MEDIAThe University Athletic Association of the Philippines will have a full calendar of sports events for Season 85 starting 1 October. UAAP President...


SOCIAL MEDIAECHO has revealed its roster for the upcoming M4 Mobile Legends World Championship to be held 1-15 January 2023 in Jakarta, Indonesia. The...


SOCIAL MEDIAIt’s going to be business as usual as the Philippine Basketball Association will not stop its on-court activities when it gives way for...


SOCIAL MEDIAIt doesn’t look as if newly-crowned Melvin Jerusalem will get the luxury of defending his minimumweight crown against a handpicked rival after the...


Mitchell, meanwhile, is a six-foot shooting guard frowm Hartford University.


SOCIAL MEDIALegendary boxing referee Carlos ‘Sonny’ Padilla was recently inducted into the Nevada Boxing Hall of Fame. Famous for serving as the third man...