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Why Aussies absent NBA players offers no comfort for Gilas’ Chot Reyes

Gilas Pilipinas head coach Chot Reyes verbalized on Monday what a lot of his team’s followers already know -- the Filipinos’ next assignment in the FIBA World Cup qualifiers will be its toughest to date.

Reyes and co. will be taking on Australia, the reigning Asian regional champions, in Melbourne on February 22 before matching up against Japan at Mall of Asia Arena 3 days later.

Like many national teams around the world, the Aussies, nicknamed the Boomers, can’t field stars such as Ben Simmons, Matthew Dellavedova and Aron Baynes because the Cup qualifiers run side by side with the NBA season.

Its individual talent pool may be diminished relatively, but Australia will be formidable just the same because of one factor -- the players’ familiarity with one another.

“I think the thing with Australia, the blessing that they’re not having the NBA players is they’ve got this pool practicing for a long time. That’s a blessing for their program. They’re very well-coached,” Reyes said after Gilas called it a night following a roughly 90-minute scrimmage at Meralco Gym.

According to some Australia-based news websites, the Boomers are calling up essentially the core of its squad that won the FIBA Asia Cup title in August. The roster will include their top scorers out of the tournament -- the explosive back-court combo of Jason Cadee and Mitch Creek, and big man Daniel Kickert.

Photo: TiebreakerTimes
Author: Dominic Menor, ABS-CBN News
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