AS part of its preparation for the 27th FIBA-Asia Men’s Basketball Championship on August 1, the Gilas Pilipinas national team will play two tune-up matches.
The squad led by Marcus Douthit will play against a Philippine Basketball Association selection that includes Calvin Abueva, Cyrus Baguio, Alex Cabagnot and Jay Washington at 7 p.m. at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City on Wednesday. A second match is scheduled against the Kazakhstan national team at 7 p.m. on Friday at the Araneta Coliseum.
The game against Kazakhstan is an interesting encounter because of the possibility of the Kazakhs facing the Philippine squad in the knockout quarterfinal round of the Asian world qualifier tourney on August 1 to 11 at the Mall of Asia Arena and the Ninoy Aquino Stadium.
The Gilas Pilipinas, composed of the 6’11 Douthit, 6’10 June Mar Fajardo, 6’10 Japeth Aguilar, Ranidel de Ocampo, Marc Pingris, Gabe Norwood, Jimmy Alapag, LA Tenorio, Jayson Castro, Larry Fonacier, Gary David and Jeff Chan is bracketed in Group B along with Jordan, Tiwan and Saudi Arabia while Kazakhstan is in Group D together with Bahrain, India and Thailand.
If the Filipino squad finish first or second in the A-B side and Kazakhstan is third or fourth qualifier in the C-D group then the Filipinos and the Kazakhs may cross path in the quarterfinals.
After a four-year absence in Asian basketball, Kazakhstan returns with a strong line-up fortified by Euro League veteran campaigner Jerry Jamar “Triple J” Johnson and under the guidance of Italian coach Matteo Boniciolli.