Sat. Jul 31st, 2021

MANILA – Team Gilas Pilipinas tests the mettle of host Indonesia at 7 p.m. tonight in the first window of the International Basketball Federation (FIBA) Asia Cup Qualifiers at the Britama Arena in Jakarta, Indonesia.

Gilas has the slight advantage against Indonesia which is still trying to recover from a humiliating 76-109 setback at the hands of South Korea on Thursday.

“They will definitely be a better team tomorrow (Sunday),” Gilas interim coach Mark Dickel said. “South Korea is a really tough opponent. And they (Indonesia) will be much better for having that game. They are targeting us as a game they can win.”

Team Gilas, along with coach Dickel arrived in Jakarta Friday evening.

“All is good, accommodation is good. Happy to be here getting ready for the game,” said Dickel, who was appointed Gilas coach by the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas only last January 29.

Team Gilas is backstopped by Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) standouts Roger Pogoy and Troy Rosario of TNT KaTropa, JP Erram and Kiefer Ravena of Northern Luzon Expressway, CJ Perez of Columbian Dyip, Justin Chua of Phoenix and Abu Tratter of Alaska.

Also in the team are shock troopers Isaac Go, Juan Gomez De Liano, Thirdy Ravena, Dwight Ramos and Matt Nieto from the amateur ranks.

“A big responsibility for [me] not just me but for everyone else to do their part to make sure we represent the country to the best of our abilities. It’s not going to be easy even it’s Indonesia, it’s coach Rajko (Toroman) — they have a new system so it’s going to be tough,” said Ravena, the younger brother of Kiefer Ravena.

To watch and to tightly guard for Gilas is Abraham Damar Grahita who is Indonesia’s top gunner.

He banged in 25 points in their loss to South Korea.

Aside from Garahita, teammates Dhyaksa Andakara Prastawa and Kevin Yonas Argadiba Sitorus are also expected to deliver.

Gilas and Indonesia are bracketed in Group A together with South Korea and Thailand.

Gilas’ game against Thailand last February 20 at the Araneta Coliseum was scrapped amid the novel coronavirus scare. (Ismael Amigo/

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