IT will be a vastly different Jordan squad the Philippines will be facing in the Fiba-Asia Men’s Championship.
Jordan made it all the way to the final against eventual champion China in 2011 after breaking the hearts of the Philippines in the semifinals - the same Gilas team that beat the Jordanians in the second round.
Now the Arab kingdom parades a revamped team in Group A against the Philippines, Chinese Taipei and Saudi Arabia.
The Philippines and Jordan split their two matches two years ago in Wuhan. The Filipinos won their second-round encounter, 74-62, but the Jordanians won the important semifinal match, 75-61.
Absent from the squad are Sam Daghles and Zaid Abbas as well as naturalized player Rasheim Wright, vital cogs in Jordan’s campaign in past international competitions including the last Asian championship two years ago where they finished second to China.
The only holdovers from the 2011 team are Abdallah Abuqura, Wesam Al Sous, Mohammad Shaher Hussain, and Mahmoud Nzar Abdeen, according to Jordan Basketball Federation secretary general and delegation head Ibrahim Sharawi.
Daghles and Abbas reportedly sustained injuries, while Wright has been replaced by another naturalized player in Jimmy Baxter.
The 6-foot-6 Baxter played for South Florida in college before bouncing around several teams mostly in Europe.
“We have eight players who are young players, and some of them younger than 20 years old,” Sharawi said. “We have some injuries. We don’t have Rasheem Wright but we have another naturalized player.”
Sharawi was non-committal on how Jordan will fare in this year’s tournament. He, however, expects the team to give a good fight especially against the Philippines.
“We hope to have a good job in the Philippines,” said Sharawi.