GILAS Pilipinas aims to build on its early success in its continued quest in the 2017 FIBA Asia Cup in Lebanon after starting its campaign with a big bang.
Gilas Pilipinas, of course, struck up a measure of revenge by taking down China-a small bit of retribution for the loss the Chinese gave the team in the 2015 FIBA Asia Cup championship game.
After pulling off a remarkable upset, Gilas Pilipinas has the confidence to continue winning its games. And while China was down names like Yi Jianlian and Zhou Qi for Wednesday's affair, Gilas Pilipinas had to go without June Mar Fajardo.
Gilas 5 head coach Chot Reyes hopes his wards can keep their focus against Iraq, which will be led by its naturalized player Kevin Galloway who had 16 points and eight rebounds in the game against Qatar.
On Wednesday, the Iranian team began the first quarter of the Group A match played at Nouhad Nawfal Stadium in Zouk Mosbeh town, located 12 kilometers north of the Lebanese capital city of Beirut, in a strong fashion, and employed a string of attacks and blocks to outscore the Indian squad 29-8.
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Just when China thought it had the Philippines where it wanted, after a ferocious comeback to take an 87-84 edge heading into the final minute, Gilas Pilipinas stood its ground and fought back to shake off the mighty Goliaths of Asia. Calvin Abueva, though, didn't look like his past self on the global stage, only scoring two points before getting ejected for tossing a headbutt at an opponent. Abdulrahman Saad exploded for 23 points.
"It's only one win".
A personification of a West Asia resurgence thanks to its return, Iraq has already made a point to stress it isn't the usual underdog to glance over in group play.
Now, the team turns its attention on Iraq in their 6:30 p.m.
Securing the top seed will be very crucial for Gilas Pilipinas given the tournament's ardous format.