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Final push

Thirdy still in, Scottie out as PH five tangles with Kazakhstan in crucial Fiba qualifier match
/ 05:50 AM February 24, 2019

For Japeth Aguilar and the Nationals, World Cup berth boils down to this final Asian qualifiers playdate. —FIBA.BASKETBALL

Leaving nothing to chance, Gilas Pilipinas will take on Kazakhstan with a tweaked roster on Sunday at Republican Velodrome Saryarka in the host country’s capital Astana.

National coach Yeng Guiao will be fielding RR Pogoy along with Thirdy Ravena in the Nationals’ bid to sweep the sixth window of the Asian qualifiers and keep their hopes of securing a berth in the Fiba World Cup alive.

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The game is at 10:30 p.m., Manila time.

Pogoy and Ravena are set to join naturalized big man Andray Blatche, Japeth Aguilar, Mark Barroca, Jayson Castro, Poy Erram, June Mar Fajardo, Marcio Lassiter, Paul Lee, Gabe Norwood, and Troy Rosario in the match.

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Missing the cut are Scottie Thompson and Raymond Almazan.

The Philippines will try to to ride on the momentum from their 84-46 rout of Qatar in Doha last Friday.

Pogoy is coming off a five-game suspension for his role in the brawl with members of the Australian basketball team here last July. Ravena, on the other hand, will be making his second straight appearance with the seniors’ team.

The Filipinos are looking to avenge their heartbreaking 92-88 loss at home to the Kazakhs last November. During that match, Gilas and the visitors were in a nip-and-tuck battle before Anton Bykov widened the gap with 12 ticks left in the game.

Aside from a victory, Gilas will be needing either Jordan or Lebanon to lose in their respective games against already-qualified teams, to make it to the basketball World Cup.

Japan’s stunning victory over Iran last Friday, coupled with Jordan’s shock win over China, has put the Philippines fate in other games’ results.

Jordan is set to face New Zealand while Lebanon takes on Korea.

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While it awaits the results of those matches, however, Gilas Pilipinas needs to beat Kazakhstan as a loss snuffs the country’s chances, regardless of what happens in the other matches.

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TAGS: FIBA, Gilas Pilipinas, Kazakhstan, Yeng Guiao
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