Gilas Pilipinas looking for practice partners in lead up to World Cup

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Yeng Guiao, of Gilas Pilipinas’ coach is keen on facing Australia and New Zealand in games for fine-tuning the team leading up to the FIBA World Cup in China.

Australia and the Philippines were tangled in the infamous July 2, 2018 brawl at the Philippine Arena in Bocaue, Bulacan throughout the third window of the FIBA World Cup Asian qualifiers. The outcome from the brawl led to suspensions and extensive changes to the program and roster, including Guiao taking over as head coach.

“I don’t have anything against [Australia and New Zealand]. In fact, my only criteria are we simply want [to face competition] close to the level of competition in the World Cup,” Guiao told on Monday. Guiao stated pocket tournaments or a series of friendly games are viable options to consider since Gilas will not play in the William Jones Cup in Chinese Taipei in July.

“The Jones Cup is already out of the question because that doesn’t fit in the PBA schedule and the tournament is quite long,” Guiao cited. “The Jones Cup schedule runs smack with the schedule of the PBA so we still have to discuss with the PBA and the SBP (Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas) the possibilities for training.”

The coach would like the team to have as much as three compacted months to prepare for the FIBA World Cup. Guiao along with the team is aiming to win at least one game.

Gilas is drafted in Group D with basketball powers Italy and Serbia, as well as Angola. FIBA World Cup scheduled from August 31 to September 15. NBA players Nikola Jokic, Boban Marjanovic, Bogdan Bogdanovic, and Nemanja Bjelica could suit up for Serbia, which is ranked fourth in the world.

Italy enters the tournament ranked 13th in the world, while Angola is 39th. The Philippines is ranked 31st.

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