Gilas challenges Chinese Taipei in an attempt to sweep 

Feb 25, 2024

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MANILA, Philippines – Gilas Pilipinas plays Chinese Taipei at home on Sunday in an attempt to win the FIBA Asia Cup qualifiers and complete a perfect start to the season. 

As the national team plays in front of Filipino supporters for the first time since its historic gold medal victory in the 19th Asian Games in Hangzhou, China last year, a sizable crowd is anticipated at the Philsports Arena. 

The Filipinos visit around seven o’clock. contest at Tsuen Wan Stadium on Thursday night, following their 94-64 victory against Hong Kong.

Coach Tim Cone wasn’t particularly pleased with the squad’s performance versus Hong Kong despite the team having just won by a wide margin. Gilas was only ahead 41–37 at the break. 

He said, “I felt we came out a little tentative.” However, Kai Sotto and Justin Brownlee ignited a 10-0 avalanche in the second half, giving Gilas a 63-45 advantage.

The Filipinos took a decisive lead in the third quarter, outscoring the opponents 30 to 9. 

“But in the second half, I thought we kind of relaxed a little bit, played better, defended better, and got a little bit of a run,” Cone said. Without injured big players June Mar Fajardo and AJ Edu, Gilas was able to play, and they should be able to do the same against Chinese Taipei. 

The Taiwanese team had just lost 86-69 to New Zealand at home when they came in the nation. Chinese Taipei lost, despite Cheng Liu finishing with 20 points.

Meanwhile, Yap and Nambatac’s Blackwater debut highlights the rescheduled PH Cup opener match.

Chot Reyes makes a return to TNT in the other opening match.

Following a scheduling change, the PBA 48th Season Philippine Cup opens on February 28 at the Ynares Center in Antipolo City with BLACKWATER facing Meralco and TNT facing Rain or Shine.

James Yap and Rey Nambatac will now make their debuts with their new teams in the first games of the rescheduled schedule when the Bossing play the Bolts.

Yap, 42, was released by Rain or Shine during the offseason and signed by the Blackwater.

In the meanwhile, Blackwater also acquired Nambatac from Rain or Shine, but only after the Bossing forfeited a first-round draft selection for the 49th season and a second-round pick for the 50th season, which had previously been acquired from TNT in a deal.

Chot Reyes, the esteemed coach who momentarily diverted his focus to lead Gilas Pilipinas during the FIBA Basketball World Cup, is set to resume his role as the head coach of TNT for the upcoming PBA playdate’s second game. His return adds another layer of anticipation to the basketball landscape, as fans eagerly await the strategic prowess and leadership that Reyes brings to the TNT squad.

In response to the coaching adjustments, the PBA has also made schedule revisions, ensuring that the league remains dynamic and accommodates the commitments of its prominent figures. The Terrafirma vs. Converge and NorthPort vs. NLEX opening doubleheader has been rescheduled to March 1 at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum, providing teams with ample preparation time and maintaining the competitive spirit of the league.

Looking ahead, a series of exciting matchups is on the horizon. At the Big Dome on March 3, basketball enthusiasts can anticipate intense clashes, including Blackwater vs. TNT, Rain or Shine vs. Meralco, NLEX vs. Terrafirma, and Converge vs. NorthPort. The rescheduled PBA out-of-town match on May 4 between San Miguel and Meralco is set to take place in Batangas City, expanding the league’s reach and bringing top-tier basketball action to diverse locations.

As the PBA continues to adapt its schedule to accommodate various commitments and ensure the optimal performance of its teams, fans can expect a riveting season filled with strategic coaching decisions, exhilarating matchups, and the unparalleled excitement that the league is known for.

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