Asked to comment on team Gilas Pilipinas’ chances against the Dominican Republic led by Karl Anthony-Towns, team captain Japeth Aguilar offered a balanced 50-50 chances of winning in their initial outing in the FIBA World Cup this Friday, 25th of Auust 2023.

Expecting a mammoth record crowd of over 50,000, the opening games will be held at the cavernous Philippine Arena in Bocaue, Bulacan.

President Marcos, the country’s No.1 sports fan, announced the suspension of classes in public schools and the closure of government offices on August 25, 2023, in Metro Manila and Bulacan in observance of the opening of the 2023 FIBA Basketball World Cup.

Ahead of their clash with the globally ranked No. 23 team, Aguilar described their opening game as a formidable challenge for the 40th-ranked Gilas. Emphasizing the importance of meticulous execution of their game plan, Aguilar acknowledged the immense task at hand.

In Aguilar’s perspective, even a flawless performance might not assure victory given the Dominican Republic’s caliber. He acknowledged the equilibrium of the encounter, emphasizing that despite the circumstances, the team’s focus remains on giving their utmost effort.

The lineup for Gilas features key players like Utah Jazz’s standout Jordan Clarkson, seasoned big man June Mar Fajardo, and emerging center Kai Sotto. Complementing them are team captain Aguilar, Aj Edu, international talents Rhenz Abando, Dwight Ramos, and Kiefer Ravena, alongside PBA’s CJ Perez, RR Pogoy, Jamie Malonzo, and the PBA’s reigning MVP, Scottie Thompson. (ai/mnm)