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No homecourt edge for Gilas

Bea Micaller

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Gilas Pilipinas will not have any homecourt advantage despite hosting the third window of the 2021 FIBA Asia Cup qualifiers in Clark this February.

Interim coach Jong Uichico said the upcoming battle would be a wide-open race as they are also not yet familiar with the Angeles University Foundation Arena, which looms to be the competition venue of the prestigious qualifying tournament.

Uichico stressed that having the crowd behind them would be a major advantage, but with the games being played behind closed doors, it’s going to be a level playing field.

“Homecourt advantage is having the crowd, which we will not have, as well as the luxury of practicing in the venue every day,” Uichico told Daily Tribune in a text message Saturday morning.

“The only advantage we have is that we don’t have to travel.”

But it seems Gilas no longer need any kind of advantage.

In the second window, the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas deployed an all-amateur squad, which went on to clobber Thailand in back-to-back matches.

With that, the Nationals now fashion a 3-0 card and are just a heartbeat away from punching a slot to the FIBA Asia Cup.

Amateur stars like Dwight Ramos, Javi and Juan Gomez De Liaño and Matt Nieto made their presence felt, raising speculations that they will return for another tour of duty in February.

But Uichico stressed that nothing is definite at this stage.

“We do not have a timeline yet,” said Uichico, adding that the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas has yet to plot the composition of the team and members of the coaching staff.

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