The Gilas Pilipinas will be playing the Chinese men’s national basketball team in a pair of tune-up games to sharpen their skills and cohesion further in time for the Olympic Qualifying Tournament (OQT) in Belgrade, Serbia.
Fresh off a fantastic sweep of their games in the final window of the FIBA Asia Cup qualifiers, the Gilas are taking Monday off before plunging back into preparations for the OQT where they will be facing off against basketball powerhouse Serbia on June 30 before battling the Dominican Republic on July 1.
Part of the team’s preparations will include a pair of tune-up games against the mighty Chinese team, which also swept the rest of their games in the FIBA Asia Cup qualifiers.
“We are very hopeful to have a practice game versus China, who are staying here before they head to Canada for more preparations for themselves,” said Gilas head coach Tab Baldwin of China, who are heading to Victoria, Canada to compete in another OQT where they will battle the hosts and Greece.
“Every game that we can get for these young men is extremely important. It will help us prepare since China is an elite basketball team. That will be great for us,” added Baldwin.
China’s head coach Du Feng said the tune-up games will benefit both teams.
“For this Asia Cup qualifiers, the Philippine team actually had good games, and I think the games which we will play against them will be good experience for us before we play our opponents against Canada and Greece," Feng said through a translator.
The Philippines need to finish in the top two of their group to advance to the crossover playoffs against the top two of a group composed of Puerto Rico, Italy, and Senegal. (JNP)