FIBA World Cup: Maliksi, Almazan will be PH's cheerleaders in closed-door game

Camille B. Naredo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Sep 17 2018 03:49 PM

Raymond Almazan (20) and Allein Maliksi (22) were cut from the Final 12 but will still be in attendance in the Philippines' game against Qatar. FIBA photo

MANILA, Philippines – They will not be in uniform but Allein Maliksi and Raymond Almazan will still be there to cheer their hearts out for Team Philippines against Qatar in tonight's FIBA World Cup Asian qualifier.

Both Maliksi and Almazan were left out of Yeng Guiao's Final 12 for the Qatar game, with Matthew Wright and Japeth Aguilar taking their spots. 

Stanley Pringle was also called up to the be the team's naturalized player, in place of Christian Standhardinger.

The Philippines will be looking to bounce back against Qatar in the closed-door game at the Araneta Coliseum, after losing to Iran, 81-73, last Thursday in Tehran.

"Wala namang problema doon," said Almazan of being cut from the final line-up. "Everybody happy naman."

"Decision ng mga coaches 'yun," he added. "Wala sa amin 'yun. Maging part lang ng pool, happy na eh. Lahat naman may chance na maglaro, at okay na ako doon."

"We were given a chance to play na naman," said Maliksi, for his part. "The goal is to win, and 'yun 'yung goal ng lahat."

"Our job is just to play, and do our responsibility as a player and kung ano 'yung role na binibigay ng coaches sa amin," he added.

Maliksi was scoreless in over 16 minutes of action against Iran, while Almazan scored five points and grabbed four rebounds.

They will be one of the few people to witness the Philippines-Qatar game on Monday night, as fans are barred from watching at the venue. This is still part of the Philippines' sanctions following its brawl against Australia last July.

Coach Yeng Guiao has acknowledged that it will be a different environment for the squad, as it will be the first time for all of them to play in a closed-door game.

But Maliksi and Almazan will try their hardest to lift the spirits of their teammates during the contest.

"Siyempre, nandito ako," said Maliksi. "Kahit hindi kami naka-line-up, andito kami sa practice eh."

"We're trying to help them as much as we could," he added. "In terms of cheering, mag-all out kami."

"We're here to support, kahit na na-cut kami," Almazan also said.

Game time is at 7:30 p.m. at the Araneta Coliseum.

For more sports coverage, visit the ABS-CBN Sports website.