By JONAS TERRADO
Gilas Pilipinas is scheduled to face China in a tune-up game on Wednesday as part of preparations for next week’s FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament in Belgrade, Serbia.
Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas’ special assistant to the president Ryan Gregorio confirmed the tune-up match which was first bared by Gilas coach Tab Baldwin and Chinese counterpart Du Feng after the conclusion of the FIBA Asia Cup Qualifiers in Angeles City, Pampanga.
Gregorio said the two teams are set to play their tune-up match at 4 p.m. inside the Angeles University Foundation Sports and Cultural Center.
Both Baldwin and Feng welcomed the opportunity of having one tune-up match before heading to their respective OQT locations.
The Philippines faces host Serbia and Dominican Republic in Group A of the Belgrade OQT while China takes on Greece and host Canada in Victoria, British Columbia.
One spot in the Tokyo Olympics is at stake in each of the four OQTs, the other venues being in Split, Croatia and Kaunas, Lithuania.
“So we still have a lot of work to do,” said Baldwin after Gilas’ 82-77 victory over South Korea Sunday, June 20 at the Angeles University Foundation Sports and Cultural Center in Pampanga.
“They’ve earned a day off so they get a Monday off, but Tuesday we’ll be back at work,” he added.
“China’s an elite Asian team so if we get a chance to play them, that would be great for us,” he added.
As far as rosters are concerned, Baldwin said the 12-man lineup for the OQT will be taken from the players who suited up in the just-concluded continental qualifiers.
Fifteen players suited up in the qualifiers, namely Dwight Ramos, Ange Kouame, Kai Sotto, RJ Abarrientos, SJ Belangel, Justin Baltazar, Jordan Heading, Carl Tamayo, Isaac Go, Will Navarro, Jaydee Tungcab, Mike Nieto, Geo Chiu, Javi Gomez de Liano and LeBron Lopez.