Gilas Pilipinas aims to avenge its frustrating loss to the Turks when they face Turkey in a second tune-up game at 7 p.m. tonight at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City. The game is part of the national team’s preparation for the 2016 FIBA Olympic qualifying tournament next week.
The Filipinos lost 68-103 to Turkey last June 22 in Istanbul.
Known for their accurate shooting in the three-point zone and their explosive play in the shaded lane, the Turks will surely get in the way of the Filipinos’ Olympic dream.
Host Philippines is grouped with Turkey, New Zealand, France, Canada and Senegal. Italy and Serbia will also simultaneously conduct similar Olympic qualifying meets.
“Our goal is to improve every game as a unit and I believe we will be a better team in our second game against Turkey,” Gilas Pilipinas assistant coach Jong Uichico told The Manila Times on Thursday. “We already experienced how to play against them. I guess our second game will be better.”
The Turks dominated the Filipinos overall in rebounding, scoring and defense.
“But we still need to play our best [against Turkey]in order to measure our capability,” Uichico added. “So far, all the 12 players are doing great and they keep on improving. This will be our last scrimmage prior to the Olympic qualifier.”
Turk coach Ergin Ataman has submitted a 20-man roster that includes Asik, Ender Arsian, Dogus Balbay, Birkan Batuk, Metecan Birsen, Semih Erden, Tolga Gecim, Samet Geyik, Sinan Guler, Baris Hersek, Furkan Korkmaz, Huseyin Goksenin Koksal, Melih Mahmutoglu, Ali Muhammed Can Maxim Mutaf, Cedi Osman, Oguz Savas, Kenan Sipahi, Metin Turen and Mehmet Yagmur.
The Philippines, on the other hand, will lean on Bobby Ray Parks, guard Jeff Chan of Rain or Shine, combo guard Terrence Romeo of GlobalPort, guard Ryan Reyes of Talk ‘N Text, guard Jayson Castro of Talk ‘N Text, forward Ranidel De Ocampo of Talk ‘N Text, forward Troy Rosario of Talk ‘N Text, center June Mar Fajardo of San Miguel Beer, Jean Marc Pingris of Star Hotshots, Gabe Norwood of Rain or Shine, Japeth Aguilar of Ginebra and naturalized Filipino center Andray Blatche.
JOSEF T. RAMOS