Two-week preparation enough for Palestine to beat Philippines | Inquirer Sports

Two-week preparation enough for Palestine to beat Philippines

By: - Reporter / @MusongINQ
/ 06:48 PM September 23, 2015

Philippines vs. Palestine. Photo from

Philippines vs. Palestine. Photo from

CHANGSHA CITY, China –-Sani Sakakini’s post-game interview should rub more salt on the wounds of Gilas Pilipinas here.

“We prepared like, two weeks, that’s it,” Sakakini said matter-of-factly during the post-game press conference after the Palestinians’ 75-73 victory over the Filipinos.


READ: Credit to Palestine as Gilas embarrassed in Fiba Asia opener loss


“I’m the only Palestine player playing outside (of the country, professionally). All of these guys (my teammates) are taking it (playing basketball) as a hobby,” said the 6-foot-9 veteran of the China, Lebanon and Jordan pro leagues.

Sakakini is the first player out of Palestine to make basketball as a profession. He is also aiming to crack the NBA by playing his heart out here to be noticed by scouts.

READ: Gilas loss to Palestine should be a wake-up call, says Norwood

On Wednesday, he completed the go-ahead three-point play with under 16 seconds remaining as Palestine won its Fiba Asia debut with Sakakini announcing to everyone what he really is all about.

“We didn’t practice as much as we want,” he said. “We just tried to play as hard as we can and we tried to show the people that we deserve to be here.”

READ: Chinese fans cheer Gilas fall vs Palestine


Now, everyone’s eyes will be on Palestine, Sakakini and that streak-shooting off guard out of the University of Minnesota, Jamal Abu Shamala, who torched the Filipinos with six triples, two capping a 10-0 run in the stretch.

“We didn’t come here just to play basketball,” Sakakini said. “We came here to win games and go as far (in the tournament) as we can.”

Before this tournament, Palestine played Fiba ball in the West Asia region, where it stunned Iraq and had decent games against Lebanon and Jordan with Sakakini leading the way.

READ: Palestine cager gives troubled land a fighting chance

After their debut against arguably one of the most charismatic teams in the region in Gilas Pilipinas, Sakakini and the rest of his gang have now made heads turn their way.

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And focus will be on them even more in the tournaments to come, most especially if they get to practice for more than two weeks and everyone in the team treats playing international basketball more seriously.

TAGS: Andray Blatche, Basketball, Fiba Asia 2015, Gilas Pilipinas, Gilas Pilipinas2015, Gilas schedule, Gilas vs palestine, sani sakakini, Sports, Tab Baldwin

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