HANGZHOU, China — The national men’s wheelchair basketball team breaks the ice for Team Philippines against host China at the start of the 4th Asian Para Games basketball tournament at the Hangzhou Olympic Sports Center Gymnasium Thursday.
The cagers, who will make their debut in the continental meet, take to the floor against the Chinese at 4:15 p.m., with coach Vernon Perea bent on stifling the reputed lethal outside shooting of their hosts in opening Group A action.
“If we can defend well against the outside shooting of the Chinese, we may have a chance against them. But admittedly it will be a hard and tough match for us,” Perea said.
The Pilipinas Warriors earned their trip here after finishing third in the International Wheelchair Basketball Federation Asia-Oceania Championships last May in Suphanburi, Thailand behind Kuwait and Thailand.
This success was followed by the Filipino wheelchair quintet securing a pair of silver medals in the men’s 3×3 and 5×5 competitions of the Cambodia ASEAN Para Games a month later.
In the build-up to the Hangzhou Asian Para Games, Perea’s charges captured the bronze medal in the Yutaka Nakamura Asian Dream Cup International Wheelchair Basketball Tournament in Japan last July.
Perea bared that they wound up in a tough group that also includes Iran, Thailand, Afghanistan in the outing backed by the Philippine Sports Commission.
He said that the team’s morale was be high after they won a tune-up match with the Taiwanese 42-36 Wednesday morning before the meet takes a two-day break
Without revealing their total game plan, Perea said that “we can connect with our inside passes because I believe that our players can battle the Chinese on even terms in and around the basket.”
The Pilipinas Warriors play the Afghans on Friday before the tournament takes a two-day break for the opening on Sunday.