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Gilas brace for battle

Bea Micaller

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Gilas Pilipinas leaves for Bahrain on Sunday looking forward to a strong performance in the 2021 FIBA Asia Cup Qualifiers starting 27 November.

Gilas coach Jong Uichico said they would go from their bubble training camp at the Inspire Sports Academy in Laguna straight to the Ninoy Aquino International Airport where they will take a 10-hour fight to the Bahraini capital of Manama to tackle Thailand.

In an adjusted schedule released by the International Basketball Federation (FIBA) Saturday morning, the Gilas will have to face the Thais twice after South Korea backed out due to health and safety reasons while their game against Indonesia was reset to February 2021.

Gilas will collide with the Thais, their Southeast Asian rivals, on 27 November before meeting them again on the 30th at the Khalifa Sports City.

“We will not go back to our respective houses anymore. We will go straight to Bahrain from Laguna,” Uichico said in a media interview.

“We also don’t know what will be the setup there once we arrive, but FIBA has given us some guidelines. However, until we are already there, nothing is certain.”

Uichico will parade an all-cadet roster bannered by Philippine Basketball Association draftees in Isaac Go, Mike and Matthew Nieto and Rey Suerte.

Allyn Bulanadi was also supposed to be there, but he got cut after suffering a shoulder injury in training while Angelo Kouame will also be left out after failing to complete his naturalization process.

With that, left on the roster are young guns like Kobe Paras, Dave Ildefonso, Justine Baltazar, Will Navarro, Kenmark Cariño, Calvin Oftana, Jaydee Tungcab and Dwight Ramos together with brothers Juan and Javi Gomez de Liaño.

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