Gilas Pilipinas kicks off its fifth FIBA Asia Cup campaign today against Taiwan at 2:45 p.m. in Wuhan, China.
Playing in Group B along with Jordan and Singapore, team Philippines is raring to erase the stigma of its shocking loss to the Taiwanese during the group plays in last year’s FIBA Asia Championship back home.
“It’s so disappointing because I was so eager to beat Chinese Taipei,” said Gilas coach Chot Reyes, recalling the sorry loss to the Taiwanese a few days after their historic second-place finish to Iran in the Asian meet.
That loss was the first of two the Nationals suffered in that tournament—the other to Iran in the gold-medal match—and, if just for bragging rights, Gilas will certainly go all out.
Iran, which won the last staging of this event in Tokyo in 2012, will battle host China at 7:30 p.m. with Japan taking on tall but unorthodox India at 5:15 p.m. contest in a couple of Group A games.
Tournament format calls for the top four placers from each group to advance to the crossover quarterfinals. With the withdrawal of Uzbekistan at the eleventh hour, all teams in Group B will advance.
Chinese Taipei was off to a good start in yesterday’s opening, registering a win against Jordan, 85-63.
Host China on the other hand, humbled the Indonesians, 105-37; while Iran outplayed Japan, 66-56, in Group A.
Gilas Pilipinas playing in this tournament sans some key players, to test new faces in top-flight international action.