Toughest battle yet for Gilas Pilipinas
There’s no two ways about it: Gilas Pilipinas will be facing its toughest foe in an official Fiba Asia World Cup qualifying match Thursday when it battles Australia Wednesday at Margaret Court Arena in Melbourne.
And the challenge will be tougher after National coach Chot Reyes omitted Jayson Castro out of the 12-man squad along with another injured guard, Jio Jalalon, for the showdown of unbeaten teams at 4:30 p.m.
Named best point guard of the last two editions of the Fiba Asia tournament, Castro averaged 20 points in wins over Japan and Chinese Taipei in the first window.
But an ankle injury sustained against Phoenix that was aggravated in the clash against Ginebra left Reyes with no choice but to sit out his top point guard.
“We tried to go hard in practice but he was not there at all,” said Reyes in an interview with TV5 (See related story above).
Reyes said their approach won’t change as in their first two games of the window.
“There’s no difference whether we have Jayson or not,” said Reyes. “Obviously that’s a big part of our offense but in terms of approach and style of play, it’s basically the same.”
Gilas Pilipinas will try to put up a determined stand against the Boomers, who will be led by Daniel Kickert and Mitch Creek. Kickert averaged 18.5 points and 5 rebounds in their first two wins in Group B, while Creek added 13.8 points and 5.8 boards.
“They’ve got size they’ve got speed they’ve got shooting,” he said. “We’ll find little ways to throw them off their rhythm and who knows? We might catch them on their off night and that will allow us to be competitive.
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.