Chot Reyes and his wards hope to regain their rhythm as Gilas Pilipinas faces Japan in a rematch at 7:30 p.m. today in the International Basketball Federation (FIBA) Asian Qualifiers second window at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City.
“Two teams fighting for big cause. Japan is fighting for survival, fighting for its life. On our part, we want to extend our life to the next round,” Reyes told via ESPN 5 on Saturday. “Japan is the fresher team here so we are looking for adrenaline lift from the crowd.”
The Philippines lost to Australia 68-84 last Wednesday in Melbourne while Japan is keen to avenge their 71-77 hometown loss to the Filipinos last November. The Japanese squad is still winless in three games.
Reyes made changes to the 12-man line-up bringing back Jayson Castro, Jio Jalalon and big man Troy Rosario to active duty while relegating Abu Tratter, Carl Bryan Cruz and Kevin Alas to the reserve list.
“The way he is moving the last couple of days he is fine but that is without full contact in defense. We are going to see how ready he is tomorrow,” said Reyes pertaining to Castro, who is averaging 20 points, 5.5 rebounds and five assists in two games of the first window.
“Jio (Jalalon) can do a lot of things. His ability to pressure the ball is what we’re missing last game.”
The other members of the team are Kiefer Ravena, Matthew Wright, Roger Pogoy, Allein Maliksi, Gabe Norwood, Calvin Abueva, Japeth Aguilar, June Mar Fajardo and Andray Blatche.
Fajardo, who finished with 15 points on 7-of-11 shooting from the field against Australia is expected to lead the team against Japan.
Naturalized player Blatche posted eight points and seven rebounds against the Australians.
Gilas is currently holding a 2-1 win-loss record while Australia is undefeated in three games. Taiwan, which the Filipinos defeated in the first window 90-83, is holding a 1-2 win-loss record.