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Thursday, June 13, 2024

Tough challenge awaits PH five

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A tough and challenging time awaits the Gilas Pilipinas national men’s basketball team.

Head coach Chot Reyes said this as he and members of Team Philippines left Monday for the 2022 FIBA Asia Cup in Jakarta, Indonesia.

“There’s huge task ahead of us. We’re going to play a tough group,” said Reyes after the TNT Tropang repulsed the Ginebra Gin Kings in their final elimination-round game in the 2022 Philippine Basketball Association Philippine Cup.

The Philippines, which is ranked no. 34 in the world, is in Group D with New Zealand, India, and Lebanon.

Lebanon may be no. 54 in the FIBA rankings, but their new generation of players is creating a buzz in their bracket.

This batch of Lebanese cagers were the first team to earn Asia Cup qualification after winning their first four games of the qualifiers and they stayed undefeated.

They will be bannered by young stars like Wael Arakji, a 6’4” point guard, who is emerging as a star and leader of the squad. He shows the way with his average of 19.0 points.

The presence of Arakji is one of the reasons why Reyes has praised Lebanon.

“Their team is really stacked. They are playing a high level of basketball,” added Reyes.

Two other up-and-coming players, Karim Zeinoun and Segio El Darwich, are also among the players to watch out for, with Lebanon.

New Zealand is expected to be a more challenging foe as it is ranked no. 27 in the world.

Veterans Kiefer Ravena and his his younger brother Thirdy will lead Gilas, along with the returning Bobby Ray Parks, RJ Abarrientos, SJ Belangel, William Navarro and Carl Tamayo.

TNT Tropang Giga center Poy Erram, Francis Lopez, Geo Chiu, and Kevin Quiambao are also joining, with Rhenz Abando a reserve player.

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