A win over Iran would not only boost the morale of Team Pilipinas but likewise improve its bid for a berth in the FIBA World Cup next year.
Beating the Asian power in the 7:30 p.m match up at the Mall of Asia Arena on Monday will have the Filipinos tying the Iranians at the no. 2 spot of Group F of the world championship qualifiers.
Iran currently carries a 6-3 record just ahead of Team Pilipinas and Japan, with both sharing third place with identical 5-4 standings.
Australia is on top of the group with an 8-1 record and already through to the 2019 edition of the world meet in China.
"That will tie us for second place and that's a better spot than when we came in to this (fifth) window," said coach Yeng Guiao of the looming scenario.
"That's something that can encourage us even more going to the sixth window. Kaya kailangan talaga manalo tayo."
Guiao and his coaching staff went over and over again on the previous meeting between the two teams last Sept. 17 in Tehran which Iran won, 82-73.
And it was their consensus that big guard and veteran player Nikkha Bahrami was the x-factor for the opposition.
"We can play better defense against Bahrami. Our match up against Bharami was only Gabe (Norwood) at the time. And our second best match up was Allein Maliksi," recalled Guiao of that Sept. 13 outing.
"Reason na pinag-handaan natin siya. Size and quickness ang dinala natin so that Gabe can have a spell, a reliever.
Even though Bharami won't be around for Iran this time, Guiao is leaving nothing to chance.
"That's also the reason why we brought in Troy (Rosario) and Arwind (Santos). Isa yun sa pinag-handaan natin," Guiao said.