Gilas to play home game vs Qatar at Big Dome
Gilas Pilipinas cagers sing the Philippine national anthem prior their first meeting with Chinese-Taipei in this file photo taken November 27, 2017, at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.FIBA.com File Photo
MANILA, Philippines – After playing a game each at the Smart Araneta Coliseum, the Mall of Asia Arena and the Philippine Arena, Gilas Pilipinas will be back at the Big Dome for its next home game in the FIBA World Cup qualifiers against Qatar on September 17.
But in keeping with the FIBA order, the Philippine-Qatar match will only be open to FIBA and Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas officials plus a limited number of covering media.
Four days earlier, the Nationals tangle with Hamed Haddadi and Team Iran at the Azady Gym in Tehran.
In other Group F matches on September 13, Kazakhstan plays host to Japan, Qatar will be at home in Doha against Australia while Syria plays New Zealand in Lebanon.
Because of war at home, Syria’s home games are being played in Lebanon.
Iran tries to firm up its hold of a share of the lead while the Philippines seeks to forge a tie at 5-2 in their Tehran setto.
Coach Yeng Guiao still yet to finalize his lineup pending FIBA’s rule on the status of Greg Slaughter.
“It’s being processed,” said Gilas team manager Butch Antonio in their hope for Slaughter to be declared a regular national player – and not a naturalized player under FIBA’s eligibility rule.
With seven holdovers from the Asiad team plus new invitees including Slaughter, Marcio Lassiter, Alex Cabagnot and Scottie Thompson, Guiao said they are cramming in their preparation for the Iran and Qatar games.
But Guiao is confident everyone would be able to adapt into the system in time because of their “high basketball IQ.”
He said it’s more of a challenge for him to be able “to orchestrate these talents and make them play good basketball together as a team.”
During the Asian Games, Guiao and his staff have taken a look at both the Iran and Qatar teams.
After being stunned by Iraq in their initial outing in the WC qualifiers, Team Iran brought back its elite players Haddadi and Nikkhah Bahrami, and the Iranians have since been back on a roll.
Qatar, meanwhile, barely made the second round of the qualifiers with a 2-4 win-loss record.