Gilas makes up for absence of injured cogs in tune-up before OQT

Gilas makes up for absence of injured cogs in tune-up before OQT

/ 08:06 PM June 25, 2024

Justin Brownlee and Gilas Pilipinas during a tune-up game against Taiwan Mustangs.

Gilas Pilipinas during a tune-up game against Taiwan Mustangs. –MARLO CUETO/INQUIRER.net

MANILA, Philippines—Gilas Pilipinas is down three men for the Fiba Olympic Qualifying Tournament but that doesn’t make them shorthanded, said coach Tim Cone.

Gilas will have to make do minus three key cogs with Scottie Thompson, AJ Edu and Jamie Malonzo all nursing injuries in the Paris qualifiers in Riga, Latvia.

So far, Gilas has shown just that following a 74-64 win over the Taiwan Mustangs in a tune-up game on Monday at Philsports Arena.

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“I don’t feel we’re shorthanded at all, I’m not a guy who plays 11 or 12 guys anyway,” explained Cone.

“You know me, I don’t play that many guys. I’m really an 8-9 man rotation. The reason why you have 12 guys is not necessarily for the game, you have 12 guys for practice. You have extra bodies in practice or in case somebody goes down. I don’t feel shorthanded, at all.”

Without a heady playmaker in Thompson, who has been dealing with a bulging disc, Brownlee made sure Gilas still got the ball moving with 15 assists.

Kai Sotto and Chris Newsome also stepped up in the absence of Malonzo and Edu, who are out with calf and knee injuries, respectively. Sotto and Newsome took care of business in the rebounding department, combining for 17 rebounds.

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Dwight Ramos, meanwhile, led the way with 19 points, highlighted by four triples.

Cone, though, knows the OQT will require a lot more from his wards if Gilas is to defy the odds and claim a spot in the Paris Olympics.

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“We got a lot of work to do ahead of us, that’s why we’re playing friendlies. Hopefully we get better and better as we move forward.”

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TAGS: Gilas Pilipinas, Scottie Thompson

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