Gilas U19 in final push for World Cup
(The Philippine Star) - June 21, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The Gilas Pilipinas youth squad flies to Doha tonight to wrap up its preparations for the FIBA U19 World Cup slated June 29-July 7 in Heraklion, Greece.

The Nationals will play two tune-up games at the Qatar capital against renowned club Al Rayyan in a bid to whip out their chemistry and execution before trooping to Greece on June 27.

Rome-based guard Dalph Panopio is also expected to join the squad there, completing head coach Sandy Arespacochaga’s 14-man pool for the prestigious world youth basketball meet.

Along with Panopio, Gilas youth will be bannered by twin towers Kai Sotto and AJ Edu together with Gerry Abadiano, Bismarck Lina, Geo Chiu, Carl Tamayo, Rhayyan Amsali, Joshua Ramirez, Xyrus Torres, Migs Oczon, Dave Ildefonso, Terrence Fortea and James Spencer.

Ranked as the 30th best U19 team in the world, Gilas will be up against No. 9 Argentina, No. 19 Russia together with No. 15 and home team Greece in Pool C of the 16-team quadrennial world youth basketball joust.

Winning against those established U19 squads would not be a walk in the park, admitted Arespacochaga. 

But he assured a valiant stand from his wards especially with a deep source of motivation and inspiration they have acquired from the Philippine soldiers in a heartfelt conversation before their departure. 

“We will not go to Greece just to participate. Our goal is to try to win,” he said. 

Earlier this week, Gilas youth got a golden chance to interact with the brave Filipino troopers who fought in the Marawi siege last year, hearing stories of survival, discipline and patriotism to the Philippine flag.

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