PH, Qatar in close-door duel

September 17, 2018
Yeng Guiao

Game today

(Smart Araneta Coliseum)

7:30 p.m. --Philippines vs. Qatar

IN a keenly-awaited but closed-door match, the new-look Philippine team with new coach Yeng Guiao will battle dangerous Qatar in an all-important encounter in the FIBA Asia World Cup 2019 Qualifiers at the Araneta Coliseum.

And like in their 73-81 setback to Iran in Tehran last Sept. 13, there will be no NBA veteran Jordan Clarkson, no four-time PBA MVP June Mar Fajardo and no Greg Slaughter in the line-up in the 7:30 p.m. encounter against the Qataris.

But Guiao  remains confident with his  handpicked 12-man Filipino team, which have lovingly earned the monicker, the “Replacements” for their brave and determined efforts to keep  the Filipino pride alive in the sport closest to the hearts.

Guiao had scheduled late afternoon workouts during the weekend. The team arrived from Tehran only last Saturday morning after being stranded for almost 12 hours due to the typhoon Ompong.

As personally announced by Samahang Basketball ng Pilipinas (SBP) president Al Panlilio, the 12  Filipinos suiting up aganist the Qataris are Japeth Aguilar,  Beau  Belga, Alex Cabagnot, Paul Lee,  John Paul Erram,  Marcio Lassiter,  Gabe Norwood, Stanley Pringle, Ian Sangalang, Asi Taulava,  Scottie Thompson and  Matthew Wright.

“It is a welcome development that Japeth (Aguilar) and Matthew (Wright) are back in the Final 12 after serving their one-game suspension imposed by FIBA,” said Panlilio in an e-mail to People’s Tonight.

“Japeth’s quickness, perimeter scoring as well as his above the rim athleticism  combined with his vast experience in the international brand of play will surely be an added boost in our battle  against Qatar,” said Panlilio.

Added  Panlilio: “Matthew is a  knock-down  shooter from the 3-point area. We struggled mightily against Iran because we couldn’t shoot from the outside, with him on-board, hopefully, that problem will be  addressed.”

“The inclusion of Stanley Pringle will add stability in our guard rotation as we want to take
advantage of our quickness against the guards of Qatar.”

The SBP head said Greg Slaughter was  not given the green light to play.

“But we are hoping that in  the December window, both Greg and June Mar  will finally be healthy to represent  the country,” he said.

Both games in  December will be played in Manila.  Both Guiao and Panlilio expect  Qatar to put up a good fight.

The Qataris, after all,  are  in  desperation mode.

With a  dismal  2-5  win-loss record,   the Qataris have now   found themselves on the edge   outright elimination.

Qatar coach Tim Lewis claimed  he knows the Filipino style of  play all  too well. But he admitted he needs to draw some  magic from    Ngombo, the team’s lone bright spot in their loss  to Austraia, and   other sources like Hassan Mohamed, Khalid  Suliman Abdi, Yehia Abdel Haleem,  Emir Mujkic and Faris Avdic.

Although  the   result of game is  important to both countries, only a handful of  team officials and sportswriters  will be in attendance as a result of the ugly, bench-clearing free-for-all that marred  the   Philippines-Australia game  at the Philippine  Arena in Bulacan last July 2.

It  marks  only the  third time that a  major local basketball event  will  be played  behind closed doors,  however.

San Beda College defeated arch-rival Ateneo, 77-75, on free throws  by JV  Yango  to clinch  the 1977  NCAA title  behind  closed doors  also at the Big Dome.

Ateneo  also figured in  anotther  closed  door game, this  time against University of Santo Tomas in the  UAAP in 1999 played at the neutral venue -- Lyceum  gym  in Intramuros.

The  Joe Lipa-coached  Eagles defeated  the Aric del Rosario-mentored Tigers, 62-60,

Tagged Under