Reyes on Gilas Pilipinas' chances vs Africa's best: Very slim
By Nelson Beltran Updated Thursday August 29, 2013 - 8:05pm

Chot Reyes

MANILA, Philippines - National coach Chot Reyes considers Gilas Pilipinas the underdog while ranged against all four teams that made the semifinal round of the 2013 FIBA AfroBasket in Abidjan, Cote d'Ivoire.

The host team, Angola, Egypt and Senegal won their respective quarterfinals matches to advance to the Final Four.

It's Cote d'Ivoire versus Angola and Egypt against Senegal in the semifinals Friday with the winners automatically clinching spots in the 2014 FIBA World Cup. The losers dispute the third and last slot "WC" allotted for the African region

Asked to rate Gilas' chances against these teams, Reyes said: "Very slim versus Angola and slim versus the three others."

Gilas' goal in the 2014 world championship in Spain is to win some games, particularly against the Africans, and that's the reason why Reyes is keenly following the AfroBasket in Cote d'Ivoire.

The last time the Philippines competed in the world meet as a qualifier in 1974 in San Juan, Puerto Rico, the Filipinos bested the Central African Republic for 13th place.

In 1978 in Manila, the Filipinos automatically made the semifinal round as a host team, but lost all seven games to finish eighth. Senegal, then the lone African bet, wound up 14th and last.

In the AfroBasket Final Eight, Senegal stunned Nigeria, 64-63; Angola drubbed Morocco, 95-73; Egypt nipped Cape Verde, 74-73; and Cote d'Ivoire slammed Cameroon, 71-56.

Reyes is now looking at tune-up matches with some of these teams in preparation for the 2014 world meet.

"We may lose all games to them now; but it will definitely help us playing these quick, athletic, tall teams," Reyes has said.

Reyes said he's no illusion beating teams like the US, Argentina and Spain.

In the World Cup, the 24 competing teams will be divided into four groups of six teams each in the elimination play. The top four from each group advance to the knockout stage.

Two wins may be enough to make the do-or-die matches.

Only six teams in Yugoslavia (five times), US (four), Soviet Union (three), Brazil (two), Argentina (one) and Spain (one) have won the world championship.

Only eight other teams have made the Top Three, one from Asia but none from African.

The Philippines was the lone Asian team gaining podium finish in 1954 in Sao Paolo, Brazil.

Composing the team were Caloy Loyzaga, Larry Mumar, Frank Rabat, Nap Flores, Mariano Tolentino, Pons Saldana, Ben Francisco, Bayani Amador, Florentino Bautista, Tony Genato, Ramon Manulat and Rafael Barretto with Herr Silva as coach.

Other teams that have won a silver or a bronze are Russia, Greece, Turkey, Chile, Germany, Lithuania and Croatia.

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Saturday, August 10, 2013 @ MOA Arena
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