Ten-day countdown to Fiba Asia Cup begins and Gilas braces for opening-day showdown with China
The initial target for Gilas is the top spot of the group featuring powerhouse China. Jan Ballesteros

GILAS Pilipinas braces for a showdown with powerhouse China in 10 days’ time and coach Chot Reyes can’t stress enough how tough the fight will be in Beirut.

The Filipinos take on China first and also need to hurdle Iraq and Qatar as they seek the top spot in the group to avoid a quarterfinal tussle with Australia or New Zealand in the tournament set August 8 to 20.

[See Blatche, Maliksi out, Standhardinger, Cruz in for Gilas team bound for Fiba Asia Cup]

"We're going to face huge task in 10 days. 10 days to go before we face the best in Asia. We hardly had any complete practice yet," said Gilas coach Chot Reyes during the post-Jones Cup presser at the Marco Polo in Ortigas. 

"The biggest problem in the Fiba Asia is we have to beat China in game one," said Reyes.

[See Apologetic Andray Blatche still offers no clear explanation for not joining Gilas in Fiba Asia Cup]

"We have to top our group. If we do not, even if we go all the way to the quarterfinals, chances are we are going to play either New Zealand or Australia and that's going to be very very difficult."

"If we have a better time preparation, a month or two months, we can say ‘Come one, bring it on, kahit sino dyan.’ But given the kind of limitation we're working with that’s going to be very difficult. Hopefully we find a way to beat China," he added. 

[See Gilas to face China in Fiba Asia debut, in line for quarterfinal match versus Australia]

Despite the lack of preparation and absence of naturalized player Andray Blatche, coach Chot Reyes is confident the team back by Chooks to Go will give its foes a good fight. 

"Regardless of our problems nobody's gonna outfight us. We might get into fights or bad situations but we're never going to be outfought," he said.

[See When Baldwin tells Gilas beating Australia isn't an 'unreachable dream,' better believe him]

Follow the writer on Twitter: @janballesteros