Gilas plays a tune-up match against a visiting Taiwanese team

Jun 25, 2024

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MANILA, Philippines – On Monday, the Gilas Pilipinas squad headed to the FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament will put their mettle to the test against the visiting Taiwan Mustangs.

The teams square off at six o’clock in the evening. at the Philsports Arena in a friendly that the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) is opening to the public.

As the national team prepares for the July 2–7 Paris Olympic qualification in Latvia, they recently wrapped up their private training camp at the Inspire Sports Academy in Laguna.

Coached by former Rain or Shine mentor Chris Gavina, the Mustangs are presently competing in The Asian Tournament. The team is headed by former PBA players Alex Cabagnot and Rashawn McCarthy, as well as experienced 7-foot-6 import Sam Deguara.

Quinn Cook, DeMarcus Cousins, and Dwight Howard are former NBA players whose playing rights were previously acquired by the Taiwan-based team; however, none of them will play for the Mustangs until the end of the month.

Jamie Malonzo, AJ Edu, and Scottie Thompson will not be competing in the qualifier due to injuries. Tim Cone, the head coach, will thus have to make due with a squad that is without players.

Before leaving on Tuesday for two exhibition games in Europe, Gilas will only play one practice game at home. The Mustangs will be the opponent in the game.

On June 27 and June 29, respectively, the Filipinos will face Turkey and Poland. After taking against the host country on July 3, they go to Latvia for the qualifying round, where they will play Georgia on July 4.

Newsome aims to have the same impact for Gilas Pilipinas after becoming legendary in the PBA.

Chris Newsome cemented his place in PBA history last week with a shot that put an end to Meralco’s protracted title drought.

However, Newsome will put himself to the test again against some of the top players in the world of basketball next week. He will also be expected to play a greater part for Gilas Pilipinas in the Olympic Qualifying Tournament (OQT).

“I want to see what I can do,” Newsome, who is regarded as a crucial component in Gilas’ difficult job of competing against host Latvia and Georgia in Riga for the last round of qualifying for the Paris Games, stated.

The deck is stacked against Gilas, since both Latvia and Georgia are expected to advance past Group A of the OQT phase, which begins on July 2.

Newsome, though, will enter the OQT with a great deal of confidence after a game that helped Meralco defeat San Miguel and snap the team’s 14-year PBA title drought.

Newsome’s season-long heroics culminated with a championship-sealing baseline jumper in Game 6 that clinched the victory. Since joining the league in 2015, he has been playing at a level never previously seen.

He deserves a lot of the credit for helping Gilas win the Asian Games in Hangzhou, which put an end to the Philippines’ 61-year gold medal drought.

He deserves a lot of the credit for helping Gilas win the Asian Games in Hangzhou, which put an end to the Philippines’ 61-year gold medal drought.

“Making my way up against some of the best in the world definitely helped,” he remarked. It made it easier for me to see where I stood as a player and what areas I still need to improve.

But Newsome isn’t content with winning a PBA title and being recognized as one of the top players in the nation. He will now attempt to not only position Gilas to challenge both European nations on par, but also to compete well against the players he will face.

“I don’t always succeed. However, I accept my failure since I know that I gave it my all,” he remarked. “I still have a lot to work on, even after winning this [PBA] championship.”

After concluding a brief training camp at Inspire Sports Academy in Calamba, Laguna, Gilas will play the Taiwan Mustangs of The Asian Tournament at Philsports Arena in Pasig City on Monday.

After that, Gilas will go to Europe to play tune-up matches against Poland and Turkey before the OQT.

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