CHANGSHA, China – While the pressure to deliver is on Gilas Pilipinas, Hong Kong is taking its game against its fancied foe in the Fiba Asia Men’s Championship merely to gain valuable experience especially for a team mostly composed of college players.
Despite winning its opening game against Kuwait on Wednesday, 87-50, Hong Kong is not about to feel confident against a Philippine team side that is coming off a shocking loss to Palestine, 75-73.
Star player Duncan Reid said going up opposite a team which is considered among the top contenders here is of big help for a team that only has four holdovers from the roster which played during the 2013 edition of the biennial meet held in Manila.
“It’s about us gaining enough experience as a team. It’s going to be a good experience for us playing the Philippines,” Reid, born in Hong Kong to a Canadian father, said after scoring 13 points and grabbing 13 rebounds in Hong Kong’s 37-point blowout win against the Kuwaitis.
Gilas beat Hong Kong, 67-55, in the same meet in 2013 and Reid made it clear the team is not about to seek vengeance against the Filipinos.
“Oh no, no. It’s not about payback or anything,” he said of the 9:30 a.m. game at the Changsa Social Work Colleges gymnasium on Thursday.
“Most of my teammates now are college players. So this is a very inexperienced team,” said Reid, admitting Hong Kong only had 10 practice games prior to the Olympic qualifying meet. “That was our only warm-up.”
Looking back though, Reid has one fond memory of Hong Kong’s duel with Gilas in Manila where the team gave the host country fits before crumbling in the endgame.
“It was a happy experience for me. That puso of the players and fans,” he recalled. “Hopefully, we can develop that in the future.”