Gilas tries to go through bump on road in Jordan
Gilas Pilipinas will go into its group match against Jordan in the 19th Asian Games men’s basketball competition as the heavy underdog.
But no team member feels that way, especially with a direct advance to the quarterfinal round on the line in the 5:30 p.m. game on Saturday at Hangzhou Olympic Sports Gymnasium.
“What can you say? They (Jordanians) blew (the Thais) out by 37 points, and we only beat them (Thais) by what, 15 or whatever? So if you look at it that way, we don’t have much of a chance,” coach Tim Cone said.
“But you walk into our locker room when you talk to every one of those guys, they think we can beat Jordan.”
Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, who was naturalized as a Jordanian for the Fiba (International Basketball Federation) World Cup last month, is why Jordan has suddenly loomed as a solid force in the tournament.
But Cone will have none of that and predicts a game that could go either way.
“We played Jordan a couple of times, Justin (Brownlee) has played them once, and June Mar (Fajardo) played against them once. And of course, we know Rondae. And of course, Rondae knows all of us, so it should be a marquee game—that one with Jordan. So we’ll see,” Cone said in a previous interview.
Brownlee will continue to lead the Filipinos on both ends of the floor, and the affable Barangay Ginebra import has also welcomed the challenge of playing Hollis-Jefferson.
“After that, we’ll go and see what our record is at that point and hopefully, we’re still alive to go to the next round.”
The winner of this match automatically advances to the next round, which is also the target of the Gilas Women after they suffered some anxious moments before dispatching Hong Kong, 99-64, Friday.
Afril Bernardino, Janine Pontejos, and Jack Danielle Animam carried the Filipinos past HK after a sluggish first half as the Philippines plays Japan next for a place in the quarterfinals.
“Our start wasn’t how we wanted it to be, but the girls bounced back and continued to fight,” national coach Pat Aquino said.