Gilas Pilipinas takes on its first challenge in the FIBA World Cup’s dreaded Group D, as they battle against Italy today at 7:30 pm (Philippine time) at the International Sports & Cultural Arena in Foshan, China.
After being plagued by injuries in their final roster and getting mixed results in their tune-up matches, the Filipinos once again embrace the role as underdogs against the mighty Azzurris.
Gilas holdovers Andray Blatche, Gabe Norwood, June Mar Fajardo, and Japeth Aguilar banner the Final 12, as they are backstopped by talented scorers in Paul Lee, RR Pogoy, and Troy Rosario. The youthful trio of Kiefer Ravena, CJ Perez, and Robert Bolick bring a new wave of talent to the team, while defensive stoppers Raymond Almazan, and Mark Barroca round up the roster assembled by head coach Yeng Guiao.
The 13th-ranked Italians, on the other hand, will go as far as their two NBA players will take them. Oklahoma City Thunder’s newly-acquired do-it-all forward Danilo Gallinari will be at the forefront of the Italians’ offense, while gifted shooter Marco Bellineli of the San Antonio Spurs will indeed pose problems for the Philippines with his limitless range.
Only the top two teams from each group will advance to the next stage of the tournament, while the bottom two teams will proceed to play in the classifications round.
FOX Sports Philippines provides you with the play-by-play updates of the highly anticipated Philippines vs Italy match-up.