MANILA, Philippines – If Gilas Pilipinas had any advantage against India, it’s knowing that the Indians are coming off a demoralizing loss in the FIBA World Cup Asian Qualifiers.
The Philippines looks to pounce on an India crew coming off a 55-point drubbing from New Zealand as it eyes a winning debut in the Asian Qualifiers on Friday, February 25, at the Araneta Coliseum. Game time is 6 pm.
New Zealand proved its billing as the Group A top dog after making easy work of India on Thursday, February 24, with a 101-46 blowout win.
Gilas seeks to do the same.
Reinforced by NorthPort star Robert Bolick, naturalized big man Angelo Kouame, and a bevy of TNT standouts, the Philippines is projected to impose its will against an India squad ranked No. 80 in the world.
On paper, Gilas is by all means the heavy favorite.
The Philippines is ranked No. 33 in the world and No. 6 in Asia, while India is not even in the top 10 in the continent.
But Gilas coach Chot Reyes does not want his wards to get complacent, knowing India has improved over the years with the addition of the likes of young cogs Sahaij Pratap Singh Sekhon and Princepal Singh.
Sekhon, 20, and Singh, 21, led the way for India against New Zealand with 10 and 7 points, respectively.
“Over the years right before our eyes, we’ve seen India develop and grow into a legitimate basketball competitor,” Reyes said.