Gilas takes on New Zealand – Manila Bulletin
Gilas Pilipinas concludes the initial phase of his campaign in the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2023 Asian Qualifiers on Sunday, February 27 with a massive test against New Zealand at Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Coach Chot Reyes says the team are up to the challenge of facing a high caliber side at the Tall Blacks as they aim to sweep the February window in the game set for 7pm.
Reyes acknowledged the hurdle he has to overcome but told his team it was possible to score an upset.
“Let’s give everyone a surprise,” Reyes told his team at the end of training held the day before the game.
The Philippines face New Zealand for the first time since the 2016 Olympic qualifying tournament, with the Kiwis claiming an 89-80 win at the Mall of Asia Arena.
“We’ve played against New Zealand in the past and we know the kind of game, the style of play, the style of game they play,” Reyes said. “From time to time they change players, but the style remains the same.
“They are very tough, they are very physical, in your grill and they pressure and you have to be ready for that. I think we have to relish the opportunity to be tested against very strong competition,” he added.
No major changes were made to the 12-man roster, with guard Jaydee Tungcab being inserted in place of big man Tzaddy Rangel.
This keeps Gilas’ core intact with Dwight Ramos, Thirdy Ravena, RR Pogoy, Robert Bolick and Kib Montalbo looking to step up like they did in the 88-64 win over India last Friday.
Naturalized player Ange Kouame and Troy Rosario are also listed in the line-up despite picking up injuries in the previous outing, while Poy Erram could also be tasked with protecting the Gilas midfielder from the bigger opposition.
The two teams are tied atop Group A at 1-0 after changes to the team standings were made following South Korea’s withdrawal due to COVID-19.
South Korea have been officially disqualified from the qualifiers after losing two games during the competition, as stated in the FIBA competition guidelines.
This nullifies the wins of both teams by forfeit with the disqualification of South Korea.
FIBA has yet to issue a statement officially declaring the decision, but has quietly removed South Korea from the official Asian qualifiers page located on the world governing body’s website.
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