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FIBA Asia Cup a huge challenge for Gilas Pilipinas

MANILA, Philippines – There was a remark by Gilas Pilipinas head coach Chot Reyes to this writer hours before the team left for Beirut, Lebanon, to participate in the FIBA Asia Cup.

“Before we worry about our opponents, we have to worry about ourselves,” underscored the veteran national team mentor.

Chot Reyes presides over Gilas Pilipinas' practice in this file photo.
And he is so right. There were so many concerns for the team, including surprise ones that hounded it right up to its departure.

The nationals are bereft of key players in naturalized center Andray Blatche (who opted not to play after the US government issued a travel advisory telling its citizens to avoid the smoldering cauldron that is the Middle East), injured center June Mar Fajardo as well as a few recent but key additions in Troy Rosario and Allein Maliksi.

The team had only one practice where the entire roster was complete, and that was last August 1, which was coincidentally Reyes’ birthday. Players have come and gone in practice because of their respective PBA club campaigns. Their final day of practice in Manila saw only 10 players dressed.

Once you get past their roster concerns, there is their collective lack of big game experience.

Author: Rick Olivares
Full Article: http://www.philstar.com/sports/2017/08/07/1726163/fiba-asia-cup-huge-challenge-gilas-pilipinas

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