Gilas seeks Fiba Asia Cup semis vs India
Gilas Pilipinas shoots for a place in the Final Four of the Fiba Asia Cup Thursday when the streaking Nationals battle a tall but unorthodox India crew at the start of the knockout stage at Wuhan Gymnasium in Wuhan, China.
Game time is 5:15 p.m. with the Nationals, who swept their three games in Group B, expected to face some tough times against the Indians, the fourth-ranked squad in Group A who own a preliminary round victory against China and are definitely no pushovers.
The Filipinos capped their elimination sweep with a 71-70 nipping of Jordan on Tuesday night when veteran internationalist Ranidel de Ocampo and PH team rookie Paul Lee bailed them out.
India has been labeled as a team to watch in the region, and its upset of China certainly says a lot of its improvement in the sport that ranks way, way behind the Indians’ national pastime of cricket.
Lee has topscored in each of the first three games of the Nationals, tossing in 16 against the Jordanians capped by a three-pointer that touched off the Filipinos’ strong finishing kick.
The former PBA Rookie of the Year has made heads turn in his very first international stint—and has gotten the attention of scouts from other Asian nations—as he is averaging close to 15 points a contest.
Jordan, which is now being handled by original Gilas coach Rajko Toroman, qualified as the No. 3 seed in Group B and will be squaring off with defending champion Iran in the 2:45 p.m. contest.
The winners of those matches will clash for a place in the title match.
China, meanwhile, has a very light assignment in winless Singapore at 7:30 p.m. and the Chinese are expected to march on to the semifinals against either Japan or Chinese Taipei, which battle it out in the 12:30 p.m. contest.
The Taiwanese, who are reinforced by naturalized center Quincy Davis III, are slight picks against the Japanese and if they do advance, Chinese Taipei will be seeking to replicate an astounding victory over China in the Fiba Asia tournament in Manila last August.