Gilas starts World Cup journey on the road against Japan

Paul Lintag on Nov 24, 2017 09:46 AM
Gilas starts World Cup journey on the road against Japan
The Philippines will open the Asian Qualifiers on the road Friday as Gilas, ranked 30th in the world, takes on host Japan at the Komazawa Olympic Park Gymnasium. (FIBA)

Gilas Pilipinas' road back to the FIBA World Cup is officially on.

The Philippines will open the Asian Qualifiers on the road Friday as Gilas, ranked 30th in the world, takes on host Japan at the Komazawa Olympic Park Gymnasium.

Coached by Chot Reyes, the Philippines will field a team featuring naturalized center Andray Blatche, June Mar Fajardo, and Jayson Castro.

Also in the lineup are Matthew Wright, RR Pogoy, Allein Maliksi, Kiefer Ravena, Kevin Alas, Japeth Aguilar, Calvin Abueva, Troy Rosario, and Gabe Norwood.

Whille the Philippines has dominated its recent head-to-head matchups against Japan, including a two-game sweep in the 2015 FIBA-Asia Championships, the Akatsuki Five are expected to put up a tough fight to defend their home floor.

Japan will have naturalized power forward Ira Brown on deck as well as the always dangerous Takeuchi twins. Makoto Hiejima, the team's leading scorer from the 2017 FIBA Asia Cup is also in despite nursing injury.

Game time between Gilas Pilipinas and Japan will be at 6:00 p.m. (PHL Time) Friday.

 


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