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Gilas will be OK vs Japan – Chot

Chot Reyes
Chot Reyes

By JONAS TERRADO

Gilas Pilipinas coach Chot Reyes is hopeful that the decision to put his players under restricted minutes in Thursday’s loss to Australia will pay dividends tomorrow when it hosts Japan in the 2019 FIBA World Cup Asian Qualifiers at the Mall of Asia Arena.

Reyes said multiple factors played a role in the ploy which was aimed at keeping the team as fresh as possible for the home match which Gilas needs to win to clinch a spot in the next phase of the qualifiers.

“It’s hard coming to the ballgame when you’re also thinking of the next game,” Reyes said after the match. “We have long trip ahead of us to go back home and play Japan. That was in the back of my mind the whole game.”

Gilas was due to arrive yesterday after a lengthy flight from Melbourne, and has a scheduled practice session tonight at MOA.

“As much as we want to go all out for the victory, we also had to make sure we’re managing minutes because we know we’re gonna need fresh legs when we play Japan,” added Reyes.

Japan is coming off a heartbreaking 70-69 loss to Taiwan also on Thursday in Tokyo, and is determined to sneak out a win in Manila to stay alive in the qualifiers.

Australia leads Group B with a 3-0 record, Gilas is at 2-1, Taiwan has a 1-2 record while Japan is winless in three matches. The top three teams after July’s third window advance to the final qualifying round.

Naturalized player Andray Blatche and June Mar Fajardo had the longest exposures against the Boomers with 25 minutes apiece before being rested for the remainder of the game when the outcome became a foregone conclusion.

But more than the concerns of fatigue, Gilas will have to do a lot better producing points, particularly at the foul line when it made just 7 of 19 attempts.

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Written by Tempo Online

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