Gilas lands Group B slot, opens vs Croatia | Inquirer Sports

Gilas lands Group B slot, opens vs Croatia

By: - Reporter / @MusongINQ
/ 12:05 AM February 05, 2014

MANILA, Philippines — Gilas Pilipinas will play five games in a six-day span starting Aug. 30 when the Filipinos—hopefully with either JaVale McGee or Andray Blatche as their new naturalized center—open up against Croatia in the Fiba World Cup in Seville, Spain

The Philippines, which returns to the world stage for the first time since 1978, was bracketed in Group B together with the Croats, Senegal, wild card Greece, Puerto Rico and world No. 3 and former Olympic gold medallist Argentina.

Coach Chot Reyes hopes to pick up at least two victories in the preliminaries in order to make it to the Final 16 and get the chance to play powerhouse the United States and its National Basketball Association superstars.

The Greeks will be next in line for Gilas on the 31st, before the Filipinos lock horns with the Argentines, who will be led by San Antonio Spurs guard Manu Ginobili and Indiana Pacers big man Luis Scola.

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Croatia is ranked 16th in the world and placed third behind France and Lithuania in the Eurobasket tournament last year.

Reyes said Tuesday morning after the draw that the Philippines is indeed in a tough bracket.

“Pero di tayo patitinag. Lalaban ng patayan (But we won’t be fazed. We will fight to the end),” Reyes said in his twitter account @coachot.

After a rest day on Sept. 2, the Filipinos will again cross paths with former Petron import Renaldo Balkman and Puerto Rico on the third, before playing Senegal the following day to close out their preliminary schedule.

Balkman was banned for life from the PBA after choking teammate Arwind Santos in a game against Alaska last season.

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TAGS: Andray Blatche, Argentina, Chot Reyes, Croatia, Fiba World Cup, Gilas Pilipinas, Greece, Group B, Javale Mcgee, Puerto Rico, Senegal

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