Brazil braces for 'highly technical' Gilas in Fiba OQT semifinals

Brazil braces for ‘highly technical’ Gilas in Fiba OQT semifinals

By: - Online Sports Editor / @CFColinaINQ
/ 02:27 PM July 06, 2024

Brazil coach Aleksandar Petrovic in the Fiba OQT in Riga, Latvia.

Coach Aleksandar Petrovic and Brazil face Gilas Pilipinas in the Fiba OQT semifinals in Riga, Latvia. –FIBA PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines–Brazil knows the caliber of the Gilas Pilipinas team that stands in the way of its goal to qualify for the Paris Olympics.

Brazil and the Philippines square off in the semifinals of the Fiba Olympic Qualifying Tournament (OQT) in Riga, the penultimate roadblock to securing one of the remaining spots for the Paris Summer Games.

Game time is at 8:30 pm with a victory sending either team into the Fiba OQT Final against either Latvia or Cameroon.

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Coach Aleksandar Petrovic characterized fellow coach Tim Cone and the Filipinos, who have so far surprised the tournament–and themselves, as a “highly technical” team and he knows his team will have its hands full trying to contain them.

“The Philippines is a completely different team to [Cameroon]. It’s a highly technical team with excellent players who play one-on-one, four or five of them play more than 33 minutes,” said Petrovic after Brazil lost to Cameroon early Friday but still wound up as the top team in Group B.

Gilas Pilipinas tim cone latvia Philippines Fiba OQT schedule

Gilas Pilipinas coach Tim Cone during a Fiba OQT Riga game against world No. 6 Latvia. –FIBA BASKETBALL

Gilas Pilipinas will lean on its trusty hero Justin Brownlee against the world No. 12, while the Brazilians tout several NBA talents led by their main man Bruno Caboclo.

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READ: Gilas faces Brazil with Paris Olympics just two wins away

But the lack of winning history and the disparity in the world rankings shouldn’t faze Brownlee and Gilas Pilipinas, who have shown they have what it takes to beat higher-ranked teams after upsetting world No. 6 Latvia and eliminating No. 23 Georgia just a few days ago.

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The Philippines has never beaten Brazil in any of their meetings in the 20th century between the 1950s to the 1970s. The last time these two teams faced off was in the semifinals of the 1978 World Championship for Men.

Saturday’s game will be an entirely different story for both sides.

“We are two games away from our dream so we need to forget who is not anymore with us. We need to find our energy, we need to find a way how to beat Philippines,” said Petrovic.

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