THE Gilas Pilipinas national team starts its preparation for the 2014 FIBA World Cup when it battles a squad of top PBA players at 5 p.m. today at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City.
Multi-awarded coach Tim Cone said that the centerpiece event of the PBA All-Stars Weekend would be a tough battle to test the skills of the national squad since it finished second to Iran in the 2013 FIBA-Asia Championship last year.
“It’s going to be a tough defensive battle. This is an important game. We’re here for the Gilas team. We’re here to try to get them better and prepare them for their journey to Spain, which is going to be a thrill for all of us,” said Cone.
The last time coach Chot Reyes’ Gilas team played against a PBA selection was in the 2013 PBA All-Stars held in Digos, Davao Del Sur that resulted to a 124-all tie courtesy of Jeff Chan’s triple less than a second left in the game.
“They [Gilas] will be playing more prepared this time. We’ll be out there to compete and challenge them,” added Cone, also the head coach of the Philippine national team, which finished third in the 1998 Asian Games in Bangkok, Thailand.
Composing the PBA All-Stars lineup are Arwind Santos, Greg Slaughter, James Yap, Calvin Abueva, Mark Barroca, Marcio Lassiter, Mac Baracael, Chris Ellis, Sonny Thoss, Joe Devance, Nino Canaleta and Peter June Simon.
They will be playing against Gilas Pilipinas members Jimmy Alapag, Jayson Castro, Ranidel De Ocampo, Larry Fonacier, Beau Belga, Jeff Chan, Paul Lee, Gabe Norwood, Japeth Aguilar, LA Tenorio, Gary David, Jared Dillinger, June Mar Fajardo, Marc Pingris and 6’11 naturalized Filipino citizen Marcus Douthit.