Gilas Pilipinas headed straight to quarterfinal vs defending champion China


JIMMY Alapag of Gilas Pilipinas loses the ball as he draws a foul from Daoud Mosa of Qatar. AUGUST DELA CRUZ

MANILA, Philippines—If you talk to anybody from Gilas Pilipinas, you’d know the team has pretty much resigned itself to a quarterfinal showdown with defending champion China in the FIBA Asia Championship.

It was not the route the Philippines had initially plotted in its attempted return to the world stage, but it is a route they will now have to take after dropping an 84-79 decision to Chinese Taipei Sunday night.

“Pending a miracle, I think we just arranged a date with China,” said national coach Chot Reyes after the Philippines turned back Qatar, 80-70, Tuesday at Mall of Asia Arena.

“It looks like it’s going to be China,” said assistant coach Jong Uichico. That was before the game even started.

“We’re going to have to play them anyway,” said Jimmy Alapag. That was days before dealing the Qataris their first loss in the tournament.

The only way the Philippines gets a detour from its current path is if Jarvis Hayes and the Qatar national team suddenly goes medieval on Chinese Taipei Wednesday and hands the Taiwanese a beating that doesn’t go beyond 15 points.

You know, good ol’ quotient.

The team could have held its punches against Qatar, accepted a loss and looked forward to a potential showdown with South Korea, but in no way was that an option for the proud Gilas Pilipinas squad.

“We were fully aware of the situation but there was no way we were coming out with anything less than our best,” said Reyes.

“Not with all the people coming out to support us.”

The Philippines will be facing really tall odds against the regional heavyweight, even if NBA-trained Yi Jianlian and starting point guard Liu Xiaoyu, who didn’t play in a rout of Iran, nursing injuries still.

Both are expected to suit up in the knockout rounds, starting with the quarterfinal against Gilas Pilipinas.

“That will make a really big difference,” said Uichico, smiling.

The two are also being evaluated daily.

“Yi has been practicing already,” said China coach Panagiotis Giannakis. “We try to keep him fresh. Until now, we saved a lot of energy for him. Maybe tomorrow, we could use him because he needs to get in the flow for the knockout games.”

On Liu, Giannakis said: “We saw him today, he has a problem. Tomorrow, we hope to start him to play a little bit.”

“He wants to play, we know that. Yi and him want to play,” added Giannakis.

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  • RalphGordon

    The ball is round, believe that we can win all the remaining games and prove us worthy.

  • oh_noh

    hahaha!!! PH vs. KAZ in the QF!!!

  • Putakte Naman

    avoiding China to get to the top? if you’re really that good playing basketball why so afraid of China? Be afraid not, but you’re afraid. Weak!

  • darsmith

    RP did the right thing in “playing to win” vs Qatar last night. Playing to lose to get better placing is counter productive to the mental toughness of the players. While RP carefully evaluated on its choice of group in the eliminations, these are anchored on assumptions/ probabilities which obviously is not 100% sure. Before the start of the tournament, who could have accurately assessed that China would end up 3rd in the second round? Did RP team relied in crystal ball in assuming that it will sweep its elims assignment?

    While many perceived that Sokors is a better match-up to us height-wise, it wouldn’t be bad to face a not so 100% Chinese team either. What’s important is that we have a team that will not short-change us and instead play to the hilt in each of their every game.

  • Burton Aw

    If you ask me it is not a wrong move by Chot. If we lose to Qatar we give away our chance to face the 4th seed of the other group. Then if we lose to Qatar we for sure face south korea which I feel is a more dangerous team. We are always in bad luck when facing korea. If you will ask me between China or Korea on their status right now I will prefer China coz there is a slim chance that Yi and the other PG of China might not play. Just in case they will play they might not be 100% compared to korea where all their players are 100% healthy. Like what Jimmy Alapag said we will face them anyways whatever happens.

  • RedvD

    Wrong move by chot. I’ve said it before, it wouldve been best to lose to qatar and end up 3rd in order to avoid china in QF and Iran in SF. Now, we face huge odds. Who knows, qatar might’ve also played to lose cause nobody in group E wants to finish 2nd. Look for tonight for Qatar to let Taiwan win so they end up 3rd

    • James Watdapak

      Actually Korea is the same as China, Hindi man ganun kalaki Korea shooters naman sila, mas accurate pa shooting nila kaysa sa Taiwan. ang problema lang naman natin s China matatangkad sila pero kung i pressure ntin ballhandler nila baka may pag asa pa.

    • Godzilla

      ano ka ngaun? may pa avoid avoid china ka pa in the Qfinals? masyado ka magaling eh no?

      • Dibs

        :-) hayaan mo na si totoy… medyo emotional lang siguro at kabado ‘yong bata e sobrang carried away sa sitwasyon lang siguro….

    • Cool LahgotzMO

      What China in QF? PH will face KZ in QF not China.

  • mewo_meow

    exciting ito.

  • Lemuel Vargas

    As stated in some other thread by me before:

    Go. go. Gilas!!! Let those treys come like water!!! (the only caveat is let those treys go inside the basket w/c will require composure and not collapsing again on the 4th quarter..)

    Remember when the S. Koreans defeated China? Think the S. Koreans has a similar average height as the Gilas team (pls. correct if info is wrong)

  • oh_noh

    Ayun… Triple tie details! Go QATAR (vs. CT)

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