Gilas Pilipinas set for India showdown at Asian Games

Ryan Songalia
Gilas Pilipinas will make its 2014 Asian Games debut against India after the Indian squad advanced from the qualifying round with a 2-1 record.

Paul Lee of Gilas Pilipinas goes to the rim against Indian center Rikin Shantilal Pethani during the FIBA Asia Cup. Photo from FIBA Asia

MANILA, Philippines – Gilas Pilipinas will make its 2014 Asian Games debut on Tuesday, September 23 against India after the Indian squad advanced from the qualifying round. India squashed Palestine, 89-49, on opening day, before succumbing to Saudi Arabia, 73-67, and upsetting the favored Kazakhstan, 80-61 to advance to Group E with the Philippines and Iran.

Joginder Singh of India top-scored against Kazakhstan with 25, including 7-12 three-pointers to go with 5 rebounds, 2 assists and 3 steals, according to The 5-foot-9 guard finally broke out after scoring 6 points against Palestine and 0 against Saudi Arabia.

The Philippine men’s national basketball team, which was given a pass into the second round as it was one of the top 8 teams from the 2010 Guangzhou Games, defeated India, 70-66, in their last meeting on July 17 in the FIBA Asia Cup.

Paul Lee led the way with 15 points, 5 rebounds, 3 assists and 3 steals while Marcus Douthit, who is returning to the active roster after Andray Blatche was ruled ineligible, brought in 14 points and 12 rebounds. (RELATED: LA Tenorio on Asian Games: ‘We’re targeting gold’)

Gilas assistant coach Josh Reyes, who scouted the India vs Kazakhstan game, tweeted that India was not a team to overlook. 

“India is fast becoming a serious team in Asia. Their rotation of 5 big men 6’10 and over is solid!,” said Reyes, the son of head coach Vincent “Chot” Reyes.

‘Persian Plague’

Iran, which finished 3rd at the 2010 Asian Games, will play Gilas on Thursday, September 25. The top two teams from Groups C, D, E and F will then advance to the quarterfinal stage.

Despite cracking the “Korean Curse” at the FIBA Asia Championship in 2013, the Philippines has been bedeviled by Iran and the “Persian Plague” recently, losing in the FIBA Asia final to settle for silver before sustaining a 21-point drubbing in July’s FIBA Asia Cup and being relegated to the bronze medal playoff.

Iran will face India on Wednesday, September 25. Both Gilas games against India and Iran begin at 1 pm local time. 

Kazakhstan (2-1) and India (2-1) advanced from Group B with a superior point difference to Saudi Arabia, which also had a 2-1 record. They’ll be grouped with China and Chinese Taipei in Group C.

(RELATED: China’s new basketball ‘Great Wall’ looks to impose at Asian Games)

Kuwait (3-0) and Mongolia (2-1) advanced from Group A. Mongolia will be grouped with Jordan and South Korea in Group D while Kuwait joins Japan and Qatar in Group F. –

Editors note: An earlier version of the story had an incorrect date and India record.

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