SEVILLE, Spain—With its back pushed hard against the wall, Gilas Pilipinas guns for the first of two wins it needs to make the KO stages of the Fiba World Cup here—and that is before it prays that some things go the Filipinos’ way in the last two days of Group B play.
The undersized yet courageous Filipinos battle Puerto Rico and Renaldo Balkman in the 1:30 p.m. contest at Centro Deportivo San Pablo hereWednesday, looking for a win to keep breathing, before hoping that Senegal sees a two-game streak come to a halt against Gilas conqueror Argentina later at 5:30 p.m.
As it is with the Puerto Ricans, this is a must-win game for the Filipinos, who have lost two of their first three games by narrow margins against world powerhouses Croatia and Argentina.
“They’re almost the same size and equally talented as our guards.”
Rain or Shine coach Yeng Guiao’s description of the Puerto Rican guards should give Gilas Pilipinas added confidence in their coming game — one where they have a chance to finally notch a win after losing the first three, including two heartbreaking losses to powerhouse teams.
Guiao’s comment came after the Philippines lost to Argentina, 85-81, late Monday night. The fiery mentor, who once handled the Philippine squad in the FIBA Asia Championship in 2009, is confident about the Filipinos’ chances against the Puerto Ricans — especially after Gilas Pilipinas had given both highly ranked Croatia and Argentina a mighty scare.
The Philippine national men’s basketball team is set to take on Puerto Rico – led by former PBA import Renaldo Balkman and NBA player JJ Barea – in an important Group B clash between the two winless squads in the 2014 FIBA Basketball World Cup.
A day before the contest, Balkman spoke to News5 about seeing the familiar faces on the Gilas Pilipinas squad, including former Petron Blaze teammate June Mar Fajardo.
“That’s my guy, that’s my guy,” the Puerto Rico forward said of Fajardo.
SEVILLE, Spain – Psy war is on two days before the Gilas Pilipinas-Senegal match.
Chancing upon one another outside the playing venue, top backers and leaders of the two teams engaged in unfriendly banters.
“Filipinos? Philippines?” asked a Senegalese, identified as such by his identification card and the Senegalese shirt he’s wearing.
Ukraine 64, Turkey 58
The United States remains the team to beat in Group C, but Ukraine emerged as a threat to go deep in this tournament by virtue of a 64-58 victory over Turkey on Tuesday.
Expectations for Turkey were high entering this game after leading Team USA by five at the half during Sunday's game. The Americans eventually stormed back and beat Turkey by 21 points, but it was an impressive showing from the Turkish side nonetheless.
BILBAO, Spain -- American players paused from their warm-ups to stand and face their New Zealand opponents as they performed the haka, their traditional war dance challenge.
The U.S. response wasn't nearly as interesting. Just pound the ball inside and outmuscle an overmatched opponent.
Anthony Davis had 21 points and nine rebounds, Kenneth Faried added 15 and 11 boards and the U.S. remained unbeaten at the FIBA Basketball World Cup by beating winless New Zealand 98-71 on Tuesday.
With Group B of the 2014 FIBA Basketball World Cup getting a rare day off from the action, Philippine national men’s basketball team naturalized player Andray Blatche received an opportunity to spend a little quality time with his family.
Blatche’s mother and aunt are in Spain to show the NBA center some love and they’ve already had the chance to meet his new Gilas Pilipinas family – including sports patron Manuel V. Pangilinan.
“She’s happy, she’s excited. She met MVP and she met the coaches and everybody,” Blatche told News5 during a practice session on Tuesday.
Jorge Gutierrez played a steady game Tuesday va. Angola, scoring six points on 3-of-7 shooting, missing his only three, grabbing six boards and handing out three assists in nearly 30 minutes of play as Mexico blew out Angola by 24, 79-55 for their first win in the FIBA World Cup Group D. Mexico is now 1-2 in Group B play and still has a chance of advancing to the next round.
Gustavo Ayon, a free agent, continued his solid play with 17 points, 12 rebounds and three assists. Ayon, who last played for the Hawks, is getting attention from both NBA and Euroleague scouts. The game was close in the first half, but Mexico outscored Angola, 43-20 in the second half, with some solid defense led by Gutierrez and Ayon.
The top four teams in each of the groups advance to the second round. In Mexico's group, Slovenia and Lithuania are 2-0, Mexico and Angola are 1-2, Australia is 1-1 and Korea 0-2.
SEVILLE, Spain—Chot Reyes had his head bowed for so long, waiting for the rest of the international media to come for the mandatory coaches’ interview late Monday night (Tuesday in Manila).
“Nakakasawa na ang (I’m tired of hearing) nice game, nice game,” Reyes told the Inquirer after another big fish that got away from Gilas Pilipinas in the Fiba World Cup at Centro Deportivo San Pablo here.
Reyes did not even bother raising his head, staying in that position for quite a while after the hard-fighting Filipinos muffed several golden chances in the endgame against World No. 3 Argentina for a sorry 85-81 loss in front of a noisy, feet-stomping and war-paint-wearing throng.
SEVILLE, Spain – Set to move out of the national team after the 2014 FIBA World Cup, Jimmy Alapag would have wanted to be remembered beating Argentina.
At the moment with the world meet not yet over, Alapag has had his biggest moments in the last 11 minutes of the Philippines-Argentina game where he gave the Argentines and their huge throng shivers.
Draining the last of his four three-pointers in the clutch, Alapag silenced the flag-waiving, chanting and cheering Argentine gallery as Gilas moved to within one at 81-82.