Philippines, 27 Feb 2015
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SMART GILAS-PILIPINAS WINS FIRST NEW ZEALAND GAME


PhilBoxing.com


Smart-Gilas Pilipinas, the Philippine national men’s basketball team won its first game in its New Zealand tour on Friday when they conquered the Hawkes Bay Hawks, 82-78, at the Hastings Sports Centre in Napier.

“Their imports played great, even outplaying Marcus Douthit, but our three-point shooting was sharp,” Reyes was quoted by interAKTV. “We need to work on our defense though.”


It was the first assignment for the Philippines in the New Zealand tuneup games. It was also the first time the team played together since the final 12 roster was announced by Reyes.

The final composition of Gilas-Pilipinas team is made up of naturalized center Marcus Douthit, Jimmy Alapag, Jayson Castro, Ranidel De Ocampo and Larry Fonacier of Talk ‘N Text, Rain or Shine’s Jeff Chan and Gabe Norwood, Ginebra’s LA Tenorio and Japeth Aguilar, GlobalPort’s Gary David, San Mig Coffee forward Marc Pingris and rookie June Mar Fajardo of Petron Blaze.

Veteran international mentor Tab Baldwin coached the Hawks and he had helped the Philippine team in its preparation for the coming FIBA-Asia on August 1-11, 2013. Baldwin has several foreign stints as mentor of New Zealand, Jordan, and Lebanon.

The two teams Gilas and Hawks will play against each other again the following day, with their second game a closed-door encounter. Gilas will finish their matches in Napier on July 14 when they face an all-star team from the National Basketball League, including top local players reinforced by imports at the Pettigrew Green Arena. The match, which will be open for public viewing will serve as the curtain raiser for the NBL finals.

The Philippine team will have a one-day break to travel to Wellington and play against the Saints, the team groomed to win the NBL title, on July 16 at the Te Rauparaha Arena. Then Gilas will have its final game opposite club teams on July 17 at the St. Kentigerns School Gym in Auckland, when they face the Super City Rangers.

The Philippines' final battle will be versus the formidable Tall Blacks national squad in New Zealand on July 18 once more in a closed-door game.

The Gilas play schedule of three straight games followed by a one-day break before another three straight games was patterned after the first two rounds of the FIBA Asia Championship which Team Pilipinas will follow.

In the FIBA-Asia, the Philippines faces Saudi Arabia on August 1, Jordan on August 2, and Chinese Taipei on August 3. After a one-day break, Gilas will advance into the second round playing against teams from Group B, with three succeeding games in three nights against probable qualifiers Japan, Lebanon, and Qatar.

The cancellation of the invitation to play and defend the crown at the William Jones Cup in Taiwan prompted coach Reyes to let the national team engage in a series of games with one day rest. The 10-day New Zealand trip simulated the Asian tournament schedule.


Click here to view a list of other articles written by Maloney L. Samaco.


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