An experienced Thailand squad will confront a young Gilas Pilipinas national men’s basketball team attempting to develop chemistry in a hurry when the November window of the FIBA Asia Cup Qualifiers begins this Friday in Manama.
The Thais, led by former Thai-American standout Tyler Lamb, will be looking for a win after bowing to Korea, 83-96, last February.
Thailand will also have 35-year-old veteran Watana Suttisin and Chanatip Jakrawan backing Lamb, who norms 28 points and 12 rebounds per game.
Despite having seasoned players in their midst, the Thais won’t be taking the Filipinos lightly since they will be meeting each other twice in a row.
“We have to respect that they are at a world-class level. Personally, being able to play against players better than us is a good experience,” said team skipper and starting point guard Nattakarn Muangboon in an online statement on FIBA’s official website.
The Filipino squad is made up of young collegiate players and their encounter with the Thais this Friday will be at the Khalifa Sports City in Manama, Bahrain. Their next meeting set on Nov. 30.
National team program head Tab Baldwin said the members of Gilas have little time to prepare for new strategies against the Thais, who will also have players who saw action in the last Southeast Asian Games.
“Most of our attention has been focused on developing chemistry, and elemental concepts of international basketball, and what we expect to see from Thailand,” said Baldwin.
The competitions were supposed to be a home-and-away format, but this was called off due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Kobe Paras, Justine Baltazar, and Juan Gomez de Liano lead the national pool.
Isaac Go, Rey Suerte, Allyn Bulanadi, and twins Matt and Mike Nieto, Ateneo’s Dwight Ramos, Will Navarro, and Dave Ildefonso, San Beda’s Calvin Oftana and Kemark Carino, and University of the Philippines’ Javi Gomez de Liano have also made the cut.
Also listed are Jaydee Tungcab, Dwight Ramos, and naturalization prospect Angelo Kouame.
The coaching staff is also made up of Boyet Fernandez, Alton Lister, Sandro Soriano, and Andrei Tolentino.