Gilas prepares vs. host’s fans

GILAS Pilpinas prepares for a heavy retaliation from the Chinese Taipei squad as home-court advantage plays a major role in tomorrow’s International Basketball Federation (Fiba) World Cup Asian Qualifiers at the Taipei Heping Basketball Gymnasium.

The 15-man national pool is deep in its daily practice in Taiwan, hoping to get into shape for the 7 p.m. match.

With the tickets in the stadium already sold out days before tip off, Gilas Pilipinas Head Coach Chot Reyes expects vengeance from a Chinese Taipei side that is fighting for survival for the next window of the qualifiers.

Australia, which has yet to lose in four games, and the Philippines (3-1) are assured of entering the next phase.

Taiwan is 1-3 and a victory would mean an extended campaign for the hosts to the second round of the tournament. Only Japan, which is winless in four outings, is eliminated in Group B.

“If they beat us, they will get into the next round,” Reyes told Sports5. “We know that Chinese Taipei will throw everything on Friday.”

“We must be sharp and ready,” he added.

Reyes, who is expected to announce his final 12 roster tonight, is also treating the Taiwan game as a preparation for Gilas’s tough assignment against the Australians on Monday at the Philippine Arena.

The pool is composed of Andray Blatche, Gabe Norwood, Jayson Castro, June Mar Fajardo, Japeth Aguilar, Calvin Abueva, Terrence Romeo, Matthew Wright, Roger Pogoy, Troy Rosario, Jio Jalalon, Baser Amer, Carl Bryan Cruz, Allein Maliksi and Gilas cadet Troy Rike.

Romeo, who is returning to Gilas from a knee injury, wanted the team to stay hungry despite their guaranteed entry to the next round.

“We know they [Taiwanese] will not give up easily. We must give all our energy to match their intensity,” Romeo said.




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