HOPEFULLY, the one-day break helped members of Gilas Pilipinas soothe their tired muscles and aching bodies in time for their match-up against Sporting Amarex of Jordan early Tuesday morning (Manila time) in the 24th Dubai International basketball tournament.
The Nationals fell in ambush to Al Ahli on Sunday, 97-82, in a game where the team – mostly composed of cadet players from the national pool – was manhandled by the rugged plays of the host team particularly import LeRoy Hurd.
The 32-year-old Hurd finished with 21 points aside from knocking down Gilas point guard RR Garcia to the floor.
Gunner Ronjay Buenafe was also a casualty of the Al-Ahli game after he suffered a bruise and minor cut just under his left eye.
National coach Chot Reyes took to social networking site Twitter to express how he felt about the physical beating the host administered on his young team.
“And Mr Leroy Hurd, ur 6'10 250lbs. I hope u feel real good about yourself, decking my 5'10 PG @GarciaRR8,” said Reyes on his account @coachot, referrring to Gilas point guard RR Garcia.
As for Buenafe, the coach tweeted, “to all those asking. Ok lang si Ronjay. Malayo sa bituka,” while posting a close-up photo on instagram of the Meralco shooting guard’s bruised eye.
Against Amarex of Jordan, which parades import Darwin Dorsey and former Meralco reinforcement Alpha Bangura, the Nationals do need healthy bodies in their bid to finish the preliminary stage on a winning note.
So far, Gilas and the three other teams – Amarex, Al-Ahli, and Mouttahed – bracketed in Group B sport similar 1-1 (win-loss) cards after Mouttahed rallied from 20 points down to stun Amarex on Monday as Dorsey and Bangura banged in 20 and 27 points, respectively, in the come-from-behind win.
Gilas is aiming to win this one in the hope of getting a better seeding in the crossover quarterfinals of the tournament.
But Reyes admitted Jordan is going to be a tough customer for his team. Aside from its two imports, Amarex also employed the services of Jordan national team members 6-foot-10 Ali `Varejao’ Jemel, 7-foot-2 center Ahmed Deouri, and 6-foot-8 San Sakkakini.
A Gilas victory will all depend on how naturalized player Marcus Douthit will perform against Amarex, said Reyes.
“If @DouthitMarcus plays well we have a chance,” tweeted Reyes about the 6-foot-10 American, who was held to just nine points in Gilas’ loss to Al-Ahli.