Limited practice stunts Gilas
Joaquin Henson (The Philippine Star) - June 19, 2018 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Gilas head coach Chot Reyes said yesterday the national team will begin daily practice only when it arrives in Taipei on Monday while the Taiwan squad has been busy playing tune-ups in South Korea since last week.

But the good news is naturalized import Andray Blatche arrived here over a week ago to acclimatize and is looking like the way he was during the 2014 FIBA World Cup, at least weight-wise.

“We’ve only had one practice so far because we’re on Mondays-only mode now,” said Reyes.

“We’ll start daily practice with the whole team next Monday when we get to Taipei.

Meanwhile, I’m sure you know Taiwan is now in Korea playing tune-ups since last week.”

The Philippines and Chinese-Taipei will clash in the third FIBA Asia/Pacific qualifying window for the 2019 FIBA World Cup at the 7,000-seat Heping Basketball Gymnasium in Taipei on June 29.

Tickets were sold out three hours after they hit the market.

For Chinese-Taipei, it’s almost a must-win situation as Taiwan has so far compiled a 1-3 record compared to the Philippines’ 3-1.

Only three teams will advance to the next qualifying round from each of the four groups in the Asia/Pacific zone.

The Philippines, Chinese-Taipei, Australia and Japan are in Group B. 

Australia is on top of the standings with a 4-0 record and intends to stay unbeaten with NBA reinforcements Matthew Dellavedova and Thon Maker in the third window.

The Philippines will play Australia at the Philippine Arena on July 2 after battling Chinese-Taipei.

Japan is in the cellar with 0-4 but has bolstered its lineup for the third window with the addition of former PBA import Nick Fazekas as a naturalized import in place of Ira Brown. Chinese-Taipei beat Japan, 70-69, on the road in the second window and will host the Akatsuki Five in what could be a knockout game on July 2.

A roster of 22 players was turned in by the SBP to FIBA last June 11 and from that list will come the 12 to suit up against Chinese-Taipei.

The deadline to name the final 12 is the day before the game during the technical meeting involving team managers.

Chinese-Taipei recently announced an 18-man pool for the third window and among the players are Taipei-Americans 6-8 Jonah Morrison, 18, and 6-5 Doug Creighton, 33.

The cast includes naturalized import 6-9 Quincy Davis, 35, and Taiwan league MVP Lu Cheng Ju.

Davis was the Taiwan league Finals MVP this season.

Morrison saw action for the Taiwan team at the U17 World Championships in Spain two years ago, averaging 4.4 points and 2.7 rebounds in seven games.

Creighton was on the national team that played at the 2013 FIBA Asia Cup in Manila. 

Struck out from the pool were five players who saw action for Chinese-Taipei in the 90-83 loss to Gilas in Manila last Nov. 27.

They were Yu An Chiang, Wen Cheng Tsai, Po Hsun Chou, Jhen Huang and Kai Yan Lee.

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