With the country’s pride – and solo top spot – on the line, it’s payback time in Gilas Pilipinas’ highly-anticipated rematch against Australia in the first round of group play in the third window of the FIBA World Cup Qualifiers.
Nevermind that the Boomers will be parading NBA players Matthew Dellavedova and Thon Maker, the Pinoys will bring their grit and determination as they take the floor at the Philippine Arena in Bulacan this Monday night.
“There’s no quit in this team. We just keep on fighting, and we’ll see what will happen,” said head coach Chot Reyes.
The Philippines will be riding on its momentum following a 93-71 drubbing of Chinese Taipei over the weekend and is now bent on giving Australia a second helping of defeat in Group B. After sweeping the first two windows in group play, the Boomers were left stunned by Japan on Friday, June 29, pulling a 79-78 victory.
Still, Reyes aired a word of caution in Gilas’ aim of avenging its 84-68 loss to the Aussies in Melbourne back in February.
“For sure, Australia is not going to want to leave this part of the world without a victory,” the multi-titled tactician warned.
The Philippines will be leaning on Jayson Castro, Terrence Romeo, and Troy Rosario – who didn’t see action in Gilas’ first face-off against Australia in the second window – and old reliables June Mar Fajardo and naturalized center Andray Blatche in the Pinoys’ final game of the first round of the Asian Qualifiers.
With tip-off at 7pm, the game will determine who will finish Group B at the top with both teams both toting 4-1 win-loss cards.