FIBA win bodes well for Gilas' Asiad campaign
Gilas Pilipinas players celebrate after winning their 2014 FIBA World basketball championships Group B match against Senegal at the Palacio Municipal de Deportes in Sevilla on Thursday. Philippines won the match 81-79. Photo by Cristina Quicler, Agence France-Presse
SEVILLE, Spain -- They may have been battered and bruised during the FIBA World Cup wars, but the experience will certainly help Gilas Pilipinas in their bid to win the gold in the 2014 Asian Games.
According to San Beda team manager and basketball analyst Jude Roque, Gilas' experience against high level teams in Group B in Spain has definitely sharpened the nationals for the Asian tournament.
Although the Philippine team only scored a lone victory against Senegal, Roque said they proved that they were a near match against Croatia, Argentina and Puerto Rico.
"Magandang kumpiyansa to papunta sa Asian Games. Siyempre mataas na level of competition ito eh. Ngayon alam na ng mga players natin na kaya nating tumapat sa mga mas malalakas na team," he said.
"Magandang kumpiyansa 'yon laban sa kapwa Asian teams."
The nationals will be fielding FIBA Asia vets LA Tenorio, Gary David, Jeff Chan, Gabe Norwood, Ranidel De Ocampo, Marc Pingris, Japeth Aguilar, Jayson Castro and June Mar Fajardo. Also added to the lineup are Paul Lee and Jared Dillinger.
Naturalized NBA player Andray Blatche is also expected to suit up for the Asiad although the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas still has to settle his eligibility issues with the Olympic Committee of Asia.
"We definitely left on a good note so we are are with confidence right now," said Dillinger, who wasn't part of the Gilas' squad for the FIBA Worlds, referring to his teammates' win against Senegal.
"We're right there, we worked every game and it's not like we're being blown out. We're all within five points pretty much all the games except for 1," he added. "Coming into the Asian games we're going be confident and we're be trying to win gold."
Gilas will kick off its Asiad campaign on September 23 against the top placer in Group A, which brackets Saudi Arabia, Kazakhstan, Palestine and India.
After that, the nationals will face Iran on September 25 in a rematch between 2013 FIBA Asia finalist.
Gilas battled Iran in the finals but settled for the silver medal finish, which was good enough to book a ticket to Spain for the FIBA Worlds.