Scoring dynamo Terrence Romeo returns as part of the 12-man Gilas Pilipinas that will play against host Taiwan at 7 p.m. tonight in the International Basketball Federation (FIBA) Asian Qualifiers third window at the Taipei Heping Basketball Stadium in Taiwan
Gilas Pilipinas, under coach Chot Reyes, is bracing for a tough battle against the Taiwanese who are out to avenge their 83-90 loss to the Philippines last November at the Araneta Coliseum in the first window of the qualifier.
Romeo missed the first two windows of the tourney because of a knee injury. His last action with Gilas was in the 2017 FIBA Asia Cup in Lebanon, where he averaged 17.8 points and 3.0 assists.
The other members of the PH team are the 6’11 naturalized Filipino Andray Blatche, Gabe Norwood, Jayson Castro, Allein Maliksi, Troy Rosario, Jio Jalalon, June Mar Fajardo, Japeth Aguilar, Calvin Abueva, Matthew Wright and Roger Pogoy.
Gilas is already assured of a slot in the next round after finishing the first two windows with win-loss record 3-1 in Group B. The Taiwanese, holding a 1-3 win-loss record, must beat the Filipinos to reach the second round.
Only 12 of the 16 teams will qualify for the next round. Of the 12, only seven will advance to the FIBA World Cup in China next year.
“They played tough when we hosted them last year, so we are anticipating a great crowd first and foremost like what we’ve experienced in the Jones Cup. We know they (Taiwan fans) will be out to support their team. At the same time, we have to make most out of our opportunity,” said Norwood.
The Taiwanese team will be led by naturalized player Quincy Davis, who posted 20 points and nine rebounds in their loss to the Filipinos. Chou Yi-Hsiang and Huang Jhen had 17 and 16 points, respectively, also in that game.
“They have a lot of time to prepare and I think they are getting ready for us. We must match their intensity and be ready. We don’t want to be complacent because every win counts,” added Norwood, who had a 7.5 points, 4.5 rebounds and 2.5 assists average in the last four games of the qualifiers.
Meanwhile, Reyes is satisfied with the progress of the team during the three practice sessions they have held.
“You can see mentally that they are a lot more attuned with what we are trying to do. Admittedly, there are still a few things we need to work on, but overall I’m satisfied with the way we are progressing,” Reyes told JC Ansis of ESPN5 Taiwan.
“I like what I saw from the scrimmages. The flow is not as smooth as we want it to be leading to some of the turnovers. But otherwise, I like the energy and engagement. Hopefully that’s enough to beat a determined Taipei side,” he added.
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