Tale of the Tape: How will the Philippines fare against Qatar?

Enzo Flojo on Feb 21, 2019 10:38 PM
Tale of the Tape: How will the Philippines fare vs. Qatar
How does Gilas measure up to Qatar on paper?
Here we go. The Philippine national men's basketball team will be fighting for their lives so to speak as they take on Qatar in the final window of the 2019 FIBA World Cup Asian Qualifiers.
Team Pilipinas needs two wins in the final window to maximize their chances of qualifying to the World Cup, and the dangerous Qataris are the first hurdles our boys have to overcome.
Let's see how our boys measure up on paper.
Frontline: Advantage Philippines
Without Andray Blatche in the previous window, the size and versatility of our frontline was somewhat depleted. Don't get me wrong -- Christian Standhardinger was a beast against Iran, but we missed Dray's playmaking, outside shooting, and rim protection, especially in the shocker of a loss to Kazakhstan. 
With the former NBA big man back in the fold alongside 5-time PBA MVP June Mar Fajardo, the Philippines will parade one of the most fearsome frontlines in all of Asia. Add to that seasoned veteran Japeth Aguilar, the sweet-shooting Troy Rosario, and rising star Poy Erram, and, well, head coach Yeng Guiao has the pick of the litter when it comes to the most talented big men in the country.  
On the other end, Qatar will likely try to counter with the tandem of Mo Mohammedand Nasser Al-Rayes, who scored a combined 43 points against us in the fourth window. Qatar also has stretch 4 Yehia Abdelhaleem and banger Bosnian-born Emir Mujkic backstopping their primary frontcourt players. Collectively, they aren't as talented as our bigs, but their size can give us fits. It won't be a cakewalk, but the Filipinos should have the edge.
Wings: Advantage Philippines
Qatar has some pretty dangerous perimeter players like Khalid Suliman Abdi and Hassan Mohamed, but even they will find it tough to contend against our very own Gabe Norwood, Marcio Lassiter, Scottie Thompson, and UAAP Finals MVP Thirdy Ravena. Yes, Qatar's wingmen are bigger and have collectively more experience, but our wings have more talent and athleticism. 
It'll be an interesting matchup, sure, and if we're talking about sheer firepower, perhaps we can give it to Qatar, but in terms of overall production and versatility, our boys should have the edge. 
Thirdy could actually be the x-factor here, since he's a relative unknown to the Qataris. If he can provide a lot of energy and hustle while disrupting Qatar's flow at the perimeter, he would have already done his part.
Backcourt: Advantage Philippines
The Qataris would have already had their hands full with Jayson Castro alone, but when you add Mark Barroca and Paul Lee to the mix, man, it makes for a truly explosive backcourt for Team Pilipinas. Castro's experience and leadership will be critical in this match, but so too will be Lee's shooting and Barroca's all-around brilliance on both ends of the floor. 
Qatar is expected to feature Momar Gueye, Moustafa A A Fouda, and perhaps Faris Avdic in this game, and they will all be hard-pressed to matchup well against our backcourt. Still, what Qatar's backcourt may lack in sheer talent, they more than make up for in size, physicality, and youth. 
As long as Castro, Lee, and Barroca play true to form, though, they shouldn't have much trouble against the Qatari guards.
Overall, the Philippines will be huge favorites in this matchup, and couple that with how the fans at the Al Gharafa Sports Hall will likely be overwhelmingly pro-Filipino, then, well, it's as if we're actually playing at home. We should expect nothing less than a convincing win over the Gulf champions.

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