There's an opportunity to have a tuneup game with China, the 16-time champion of the FIBA Asia Cup.
And coach Tab Baldwin won’t let this opportunity slip away.
The Philippines and a young Chinese quintet will have a friendly match before both national squads leave the country within the week.
Gilas will be in Belgrade, Serbia, while China will head to Victoria, Canada, for two separate Olympic Qualifying Tournaments to be held from June 29 to July 4.
“Hopefully, we might be able to get a practice game with China, which is also staying here before going to Canada. A lot of work to do,” said Baldwin.
The Gilas mentor talked about his plans for Gilas after they turned back Korea, 82-77, Sunday to complete a 6-game sweep of Group A of the FIBA Asia Cup Qualifiers at the Angeles University Foundation Gym in Angeles City.
Their unbeaten record allowed the Filipinos to gain entry to the tournament proper of the Asia Cup in Indonesia this August.
A 13-man squad will most likely go to Belgrade where the Philippines will meet Serbia and the Dominican Republic in the group stage.
The top two teams in the groups will move over to the crossover playoffs with the other Group B, which will have Puerto Rico, Italy, and Senegal.
There are four remaining places in the 12-team Tokyo 2020 Olympic field, reserved for the winners of each of the four FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournaments, which will be held in Lithuania.
In their last game against Korea, Baldwin took note of the performances of NBA prospect Kai Sotto, RJ Abarrientos, and their youngest teammate Jordan Heading.
All three held their own against the monster game of Ra Gun A, a naturalized player, also known as Ricardo Ratliffe.
“He was just a monster our there. I thought they all gave a really good effort, and certainly helped our team be successful through major patches of the game. And we were able to compete with Ra,” said Baldwin.
China, playing with fresh faces this time around, swept its four-team Group B assignment, finishing with a 91-73 win over Chinese Taipei.
Yi Jian Lian, the MVP, is no longer around, after seeing action in the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics, where China placed fifth in the group stages.
The Chinese squad is now led by Qi Zhou, who averages 18 points and 12 rebounds.
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