MANILA – Smart Gilas Pilipinas battles Qatar Thursday night hoping to get new players to familiarize themselves with the national team’s system.
Game time is 7 p.m.at the Filoil Flying V Arena.
Head coach Rajko Toroman is using the friendlies against Qatar and later Jordan to get guard Jimmy Alapag and power forwards Kelly Williams and Ranidel De Ocampo into the Gilas groove.
It is the first stint for the three Talk ‘N Text stars in a competitive atmosphere with the national squad.
Jordan plays Qatar Friday while Smart Gilas takes a break before facing the Jordanians on Saturday and Qatar again on Sunday.
“These three international games with them [Alapag, Williams and De Ocampo] are not enough. But we cannot play if they don’t know the system,” said Toroman.
“Before, we were talking about seven or eight games with them, but it’s almost impossible now to do it,” Toroman added.
The Nationals leave for Wuhan, China on September 13 to compete in the Fiba Asia Championship, which stakes a continental spot for next year’s London Olympics.
Bracketed in Group D, the Filipinos open their bid on September 15 against UAE before facing host China and Bahrain the next two days.
“We won and lost against Qatar in previous games. But we lost in the important ones,” said team skipper Chris Tiu.
Smart Gilas brought the taller and more athletic Qatari to their knees in the group stages of last year’s Guangzhou Asian Games only to fall short in the battle for fifth against the same squad.
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