Gilas Pilipinas opens World Cup campaign against Italy
The Philippines’ daunting campaign in the 2019 Fiba World Cup tips off against Italy on August 31 at Foshan International Sports and Cultural Center in Foshan City, China.
Ranked 31st in the world, the Philippines then, tests its mettle against No. 4 Serbia, which lost to USA in the finals of the previous edition of the World Cup, two days later.
National team coach Yeng Guiao said facing the formidable Italian side, which could have the likes of NBA veterans Danilo Gallinari and Marco Belinelli in its roster, at the start of the tournament gives no excuse for Gilas Pilipinas to not be well prepared come game time.
“That’s good for us. It just means to say that when you face Italy on your first game, you have to bring everything you have,” Guiao said.
“By the time we play our first game when we get there we should be ready to play 100 percent. There’s no such thing as getting warmed up first.”
It gets tougher for PH after Italy with a matchup against the mighty Serbians, who could also parade a plethora of NBA talents led by one of the best big men in the NBA in Nikola Jokic.
Gilas wraps up the first round against Angola, which can’t be taken lightly despite being ranked eight spots lower.
“Angola is another tough team,” Guiao said.
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