Opposite India, Gilas faces tall rival, manpower woes

Olmin Leyba - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines — Gilas Pilipinas gets its quick chance to restore confidence – if not totally wash away the bitter taste from its drubbing in New Zealand – tonight in a welcome home game against India at the MOA Arena.

The youth-laden Nationals (1-2) go for that boosting win in the third window windup of the FIBA World Cup Asian Qualifiers Group A action versus the winless Indians (0-3) at 7 p.m., hopefully wiser coming off their 46-point beating from the superior NZ Tall Blacks in Auckland last Thursday.

“We can’t play the way we played (against New Zealand) and I’m sure, we’ll come with a much better performance Sunday,” Gilas coach Nenad Vucinic said.

“Everything that happened, we just got to learn from it, be stronger next time, then take care of what coach wants us to do on Sunday (versus India),” said Gilas guard SJ Belangel.

The Philippines, with a hybrid of cadets led by naturalized player Ange Kouame and pro ballers from TNT, beat India the first time around, 88-64.

But this doesn’t in no way mean the return engagement is a cakewalk, especially with the current 11-man Gilas squad dealing with size woes aggravated by the ankle injury sustained by frontliner Carl Tamayo, its top scorer against the Kiwis with 16.

“It’s going to be another tough opponent, maybe not at the level (of New Zealand) but they (India) have experience, they have the size as well. We have injuries, we’re short-handed and we lack size,” said Vucinic.

“We’ll try to have a good game and have a chance to win,” he added.


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