PREVIEW: Gilas Pilipinas vs New Zealand FIBA OQT (July 6, 2016) | The Summit Express

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PREVIEW: Gilas Pilipinas vs New Zealand FIBA OQT (July 6, 2016)


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MANILA, Philippines - After falling by 9 points against France last night, the Gilas Pilipinas still has chance to advance to the next round at the FIBA 2016 Olympic Qualifiers Manila. Ranked 28th Philippines will play world ranked 21st New Zealand tonight, July 6 at 9:00 p.m. at the Mall Of Asia Arena in Pasay City.
Gilas Pilipinas vs New Zealand FIBA OQT (July 6, 2016)
 Gilas’ Rio dream still alive as they play against New Zealand Tall Blacks tonight.
Should the Philippines get pass through New Zealand tonight, they will advance to the crossover semifinals on Saturday not unless the Kiwis beat France by a huge margin on Thursday.

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Gilas Pilipinas, despite of the loss against France, showed that the entire team has vastly improved compared to its pre-tournament tune-up games performance. Leading France by double digits on the first one and a half quarters of the game, it gave a warning shot to the Tall Blacks, New Zealand’s men’s basketball team. It sent a powerful message to the Kiwis that the Filipino cagers whom they will face later are capable of inflicting damage to whoever they play.

Philippines will be facing an opponent who’s exactly its match. Both teams have an average height of 6’5” but the Kiwis have the younger and fresher legs than the Filipinos.

The Tall Blacks, playing sans Oklahoma City Thunders’ workhorse center Steven Adams, can level the backcourt tandem of Jayson Castro-William and Terrence Romeo in terms of scoring with their own 2-punch-combo guards and brothers: Tai and Corey Webster.

In the recently concluded pocket tournament in China, where New Zealand participated in preparation for the Manila tournament, Corey siblings consistently averaged double-digits in scoring, giving their team the boost and confidence heading to the main event.

Another Tall Black to look out for is Isaac Fotu, the 22-year-old, 6-foot-8 forward who provides muscle and energy for New Zealand. A younger version of Gilas’ “Pinoy Sakuragi” Marc Pingris.

With the way Andray Blatche is playing, being a steady threat in and out of the perimeter, Gilas will have a high chance in winning tonight’s game. Aside from the crowd and home court advantage, Philippines will have the player-experience advantage over New Zealand. Ranidel De Ocampo however, being the oldest amongst the roster should also be a threat at the three point territory and at the posts while Marc Pingris should provide the energy and “puso” that he’s known for.

Three point shootings and rebounds will still be the key to Gilas’ success. Last night’s game, Philippines had lots of offensive boards from Troy Rosario, Marc Pingris and Gabe Norwood. The boys however failed to convert them into second chance points that could’ve saved them from the gallant loss against France.

Castro and Romeo are still expected to fire-up tonight regardless who will their defenders be. Both Filipino guards proved their swags and stood their grounds against Le Bleu’s Tony Parker and Nando De Colo. Everyone’s predicting an all-out shootout between Gilas guards and Tall Blacks’ Webster Brothers.

Gilas Pilipinas versus Tall Blacks New Zealand will be aired live on TV 5 and Interaksyon at 9:00PM.


Laban Pilipinas, Puso!

--Joey Boy Capos, The Summit Express

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