Published: July 24, 2013
Game Today (SM Mall of Asia)
7 p.m. — PBA Selection vs Gilas Pilipinas
Is Gilas Pilipinas ready for the FIBA-Asia Championship?
That will be known today when Gilas battles a PBA Selection in an exhibition game at the SM Mall of Asia (MOA) Arena in Pasay City.
This will be the second time since the PBA All-Star Game last May in Digos City that the Chot Reyes-mentored Gilas Pilipinas will be tested by a selection of players from the pro league, which will be handled by Air21’s Franz Pumaren this time.
The FIBA Asia tournament will start on Wednesday next week and Reyes hopes their game against a PBA Selection will give him a bird’s eye view on how to further improve their game in time for the biennial tournament.
In the All-Star, the game ended in a stalemate when Gilas’ Jeff Chan buried a three-pointer with 0.6 second left for a 124-124 count.
“Hopefully we can give our national team another good fight,” said Petron Blaze’s 6-foot-4 forward Arwind Santos, who was named co-Most Valuable Player (MVP) with Chan in the PBA All-Star after he collected 27 points and 13 rebounds.
“This is our way to help the national team, to give them a good game,” added Santos, who has played for the national team in the past.
Aside from Santos, also named to the team are Calvin Abueva, JV Casio and Cyrus Baguio of Alaska, Petron’s Alex Cabagnot, Air21’s Niño Canaleta and Barangay Ginebra San Miguel’s Chris Ellis.
Added to the team for this exhibition game are Rain or Shine’s Paul Lee and Chris Tiu, San Mig’s Mark Barroca, Joe Devance and PJ Simon, and Globalport’s Jay Washington.
The Gilas Pilipinas will have naturalized player Marcus Douthit, Chan, Jimmy Alapag, LA Tenorio, Gary David, Larry Fonacier, Jayson Castro, Gabe Norwood, Ranidel de Ocampo, Marc Pingris, Japeth Aguilar, June Mar Fajardo, and Chan.
Aside from facing the PBA selection, Gilas Pilipinas will also play the national team of Kazakhstan on Friday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
The FIBA-Asia Championship, which will be played Aug. 1 to 14 at the MOA Arena and Ninoy Aquino Stadium, serves as the qualifying tournament for the World Championship where the top three finishers will earn spots in Spain next year.
The national team is bracketed in Group A and will face in the first round Jordan, Taiwan and Saudi Arabia.