MANILA — Gilas Pilipinas goes for a sweep of its two-game assignment in the fifth window of the FIBA World Cup qualifiers as it takes on Saudi Arabia in Jeddah Monday morning (Manila time).
The Filipinos go into the game at the King Abdullah Sports City Hall in high spirits, coming off fresh from a 74-66 victory over Jordan in Amman three days ago.
And the team meant business about winning one on the road again after going straight to practice shortly upon arrival in the Saudi Arabia city following a three-hour journey from the Jordan capital.
“Our day isn’t done yet,” said coach Chot Reyes, while showing reels of the Filipinos warming up for their early evening practice on Saturday.
Gilas (4-3) is actually looking for a repeat against the host, which it defeated, 84-46, when they played each other during the August window at the Mall of Asia Arena.
The Saudis however, are in a must-win situation if they are to salvage their campaign for a spot in next year’s FIBA World Cup.
The host carries a 2-5 record for fifth place in Group E, trailing Jordan which is just a notch higher at 3-4 for the fourth spot.
And just how serious the Saudis are in their bid to qualify, at least half of their roster has been revamped for their rematch against the Filipinos.
The host immediately saw the impact of the lineup change after it routed India on Thursday, 85-54, behind the 16-point each of Hazim Bader Aljohar and Khalid Abder Gabar.
“Tough team, tough game. So the most important thing for us is to be prepared for that,” said Reyes.
A second straight win on the road should augur well for the Philippines, which would be playing at home during the February and final window when it hosts Jordan and Lebanon. (ai/mtvn)