THE Philippines faces Kazakhstan today in the crossover knockout quarterfinals of the 27th FIBA-Asia Men’s Basketball Championship at the SM Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City.
Gilas-Pilipinas faces the Kazakhstan squad at 8:30 p.m. following the Chinese-Taipei vs. China encounter at 5:45 p.m. Meanwhile, Iran meets Jordan at 3 p.m. while the last quarterfinals match pits South Korea against Qatar at 10:30 p.m.
Two classification matches also usher in the ninth day of action featuring Bahrain against Hong Kong at 10:30 a.m. and Japan against India at 12:45 p.m.
Though Coach Chot Reyes’ wards finished the Group E elimination round in equal footing with Chinese-Taipei and Qatar all bearing 4-1 win-loss slates, the Philippines claimed the top spot via higher quotient. Chinese-Taipei emerged no. 2, Qatar no. 3 and Jordan no. 4, all three bearing identical 2-3 cards.
In Group F, Iran, the only unbeaten team with 5-0 slate emerged no. 1 followed by South Korea (4-1), China (3-2) and Kazakhstan (2-3).
A win by the Philippines will pit it against the winner of the match between South Korea and Qatar or Iran against China in the semifinals on Saturday.
Reyes urged his wards to forget the scary elimination round match where they managed to post a 67-55 win over Hong Kong on Wednesday and focus on their battle against Kazakhstan. Gilas-Pilipinas beat the Kazakhs, 92-89, in a tune-up game on July 26 at the Araneta Coliseum.
“We have to prepare hard against Kazakhstan. It’s a strong team and we know how dangerous they can be. They have the height, they have good shooters and they have great point guard,” said Reyes, also the coach of the Philippine team that finished ninth (9th) in the 2007 edition of FIBA-Asia in Tokushima, Japan.