Gilas Pilipinas shoots for its second straight win against Chinese-Taipei in a home game of the International Basketball Federation (FIBA) Asian Qualifiers on Monday the Araneta Coliseum.
After surviving Japan in their first game 77-71 on Friday in Tokyo, the Filipinos go for a 2-0 start in their Group B match against the Taiwanese at 7:30 p.m.
Taipei was routed by powerhouse Australia, 66-104, at their own turf and it hopes to bounce back from that ugly loss and steal the match against the hosts.
A win by Gilas 5 will most likely put them in a tie with Aussies, who are favorites to prevail against the Japanese in another Group B encounter on Monday at the Titanium Arena in Adelaide.
The Philippines and Australia will face on February 22 next year but the Gilas coaching staff is not looking that fear ahead.
“We cannot relax (against Taiwan) because we are aiming for more victories. The more wins, the better to make it into the top three,” Gilas deputy coach Jong Uichico told The Manila Times in a phone interview. “Australia is too strong and tall but we still don’t know what will happen when we face them next year.”
National team veteran Jayson Castro, who led Gilas with 20 points, seven rebounds and six assists against Japan, is expected to lead the home team anew although head coach Chot Reyes has yet to announce the line up that he will use against Taiwan.
Naturalized player Andray Blatche had 13 points and 12 rebounds while Matthew Wright and Gabe Norwood added 12 and 10 markers, respectively against Japan and they are expected to return for tonight’s match.
Relegated to the reserve list against Japan were Carl Bryan Cruz, Mac Belo and Raymond Almazan.
Quincy Davis, the naturalized player of Taiwan, scored 17 points to lead the Taiwanese in a losing effort against Australia. Davis will lead the visiting team to be handled by head coach Chou Chun-San.