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Fernandez lauds Gilas but warns team to brace for Korea, China

(Philstar.com) - September 28, 2015 - 2:00am

MANILA, Philippines – A jubilant basketball legend Ramon Fernandez said Gilas Pilipinas’ confidence-boosting 87-73 win over defending FIBA Asia men’s champion Iran could serve the Filipinos well as they go deep into the tournament.

The Asian men's championships, which also doubles as a qualifier for the 2016 Rio Olympics, is now halfway through with Gilas looking to carry the momentum of its win over Iran when it faces dangerous India in Group E on Tuesday.

“Congratulations are in order for the team,” Fernandez told Philstar.com, moments after Gilas’ 14-point victory over the mighty Iranians.

“That (win over Iran) might just be the one game that can push the team to strive and work harder.”

However, Fernandez, one of only two PBA players to win the MVP plum four times in  his distinguished 20-year professional basketball career, cited that host China and South Korean can’t be discounted in the Asian tournament because of its mixture of young and veteran players in their respective rosters.

“Island grabber China should be the hardest to beat because of their home court advantage, but again, we can’t take Korea for granted as well,” noted the 61-year-old Fernandez.

Fernandez, now based in Cebu, was a regular fixture of the national team during his heydays, having been part of Team PHL that ruled the 1972 FIBA Asia Under-18 championships as well as the 1973 FIBA Asia men’s competitions in Manila.

The PBA’s all-time scoring leader also saw action for the Philippine team in the 1974 World Championships in San Juan, Puerto Rico, before playing for the national side that placed second to China in the 1990 Asian Games in Beijing.

8PX ACIRC ARIAL FAMILY FERNANDEZ FONT QUOT SANS SCRIPT SERIF STYLE
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