A feel of home in Taipei
— Chot Reyes (@coachot) June 26, 2018
Chot Reyes will cut three players from his 15-man pool on Thursday evening as Gilas Pilipinas clashes with Chinese Taipei in the third window of the Fiba World Cup 2019 Asian Qualifiers at Taipei Heping gym.
Reyes will cut four local players, with one slot obviously reserved for naturalized center Andray Blatche.
The team has until 7 p.m. with Fiba rules calling for coaches to submit their final rosters 24 hours before tip off.
Reigning four-time Philippine Basketball Association MVP June Mar Fajardo, point guards Jayson Castro and Terrence Romeo, power forwards Calvin Abueva, Japeth Aguilar and Troy Rosario, gunslinger Matthew Wright, and skipper and prime defender Gabe Norwood appear to have locks on slots as the Filipinos try to keep their mastery of the Taiwanese.
The Filipinos arrived in Taipei on Monday and have gotten in two practices where overseas Filipino workers made them feel right at home.
“They really serve as an inspiration for us,” Aguilar was quoted by ESPN5 as saying. “It’s an honor to play for the flag. When you see them and the support they show, it makes you want to play better on the court and strive more for them.”
“These are some of the things I cherish as a basketball player, to be able to inspire other lives. That’s why it’s added motivation to play for them.”
Chinese Taipei hasn’t beaten the Philippines since an upset in the Asian Championship at Mall of Asia Arena in 2012.
It needs to win the Friday game to avoid being put in a do-or-die game with Japan on July 2, also at home.
As things stand, Australia and Gilas have already booked safe passages into the next round, but the tricky thing in this format is that records are carried over to the next phase, making this a vital game for the Filipinos.
Gilas is running second with a 3-1 record, its only loss coming at the hands of the Aussies. They meet again, also July 2, at the cavernous Philippine Arena in Bocaue, Bulacan, where Team Philippines, granting it defeats Chinese Taipei, would need to win by at least 19 points to take the No. 1 ranking in Group B.
The others in Reyes’ pool are Baser Amer, Jio Jalalon, RR Pogoy, Allein Maliksi, Carl Bryan Cruz and Gilas Cadet Troy Rike.
Gilas scored a 90-83 win over the Taiwanese last November as the Filipinos recovered from a bad start and got the goods in the second half from Castro, who finished with 20 points, and Fajardo.
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