Chot Reyes calls beating Australia a long shot. But Gilas Pilipinas will deal with it anyway.
“Remember, in the Fiba Asia Championships, Australia beat Iran with (team star Hamed) Haddadi by 30 points,” said the national coach. “So I don’t know how—suntok sa buwan (it’s a long shot) to the highest degree. But it is what it is, we’re still going to try our best.”
Australia will be among the countries that the Philippines will face in the reformatted Fiba World Cup qualifiers that features home-and-away games.
Gilas Pilipinas will take on Japan on Nov. 24 in Tokyo, just three weeks after it opens training camp on Nov. 3.
The country will host Chinese Taipei on Nov. 27 at Smart Araneta Coliseum, before flying to Australia on Feb. 22.
“What’s important is we build a team that will have a strong chance of beating Japan and Taiwan,” said Reyes. “If you talk about Australia, very honestly, I don’t know how we can beat Australia.”
The Philippines remains in the top 5 in the continent despite the new Fiba groupings that merged the Asia and Oceania regions. Overall, the country slipped three spots to 30th in the Fiba World rankings.
The Philippines is fifth in the Asia-Oceania group behind Australia (9th), Iran (22nd), China (24th) and New Zealand (27th).