Guiao tinkers with roster for Gilas game vs Iran
(Mall of Asia Arena)
7:30 p.m. – Gilas Pilipinas vs Iran
WITH its back to the wall, Gilas Pilipinas sets out against a formidable Iran crew on Monday looking for no less than a win to keep a comfortable spot in the hectic qualifying series for the Fiba World Cup Championship slated next year in China.
Coach Yeng Guiao has tinkered with the lineup that took a shock loss to Kazakhstan on Friday, tapping Christian Standhardinger as the country’s naturalized player and putting Troy Rosario and Jason Castro back in the 12-man crew for their 7:30 p.m. game at Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay.
Stanley Pringle, who scored 29 points in a 92-88 loss to the Kazakhs, will sit this one out as Guiao goes for a quicker frontline with Standhardinger and sitting the 7-foot Greg Slaughter.
There are only four spots left in the tournament proper and the Iranians can creep closer to one with a repeat over the Filipinos, whom they beat, 81-73, in Teheran a couple of months ago.
Iran will still be without NBA veteran Hamed Haddadi and it will be coming off its worst loss in the Qualifying, a 76-47 shellacking at the hands of Australia in Melbourne also on Friday.
But that doesn’t mean that the Iranians will be easy pickings, with Mohammad Jamshidi, who played briefly as an import for Meralco in the PBA two years ago, carrying the scoring load for Iran.
In fact, Jamshidi is confident that “it’s going to be better for us in Manila,” according to a Fiba.com report. “Australia was a really tough team to play. In Manila, we have a better chance to beat them (Filipinos) and be in the World Cup (proper).”
With a 5-4 record, this will be the last homestand for the Filipinos, who will fly to Qatar and then Kazakhstan in February for the sixth window to round up their schedule.
The Filipinos are tied with Japan for third spot in Group F, and with Australia, New Zealand and South Korea booking the first three slots after wins on Friday, this game will be critical for Team Philippines in its bid for a second straight stint since Spain 2015.
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