INCHEON, Korea — Gilas Pilipinas looks to end a damned campaign on a winning note against Mongolia in the Asian Games basketball competitions on Wednesday at the Hwaseong Sports Complex.
Gilas by no means expect an easy outing against Mongolia in 3:15 p.m. (2:15 p.m. Manila time) battle for seventh place, which already represents the worst finish by a Philippine team in the quadrennial event.
Coach Chot Reyes said injuries to Jimmy Alapag and Marc Pingris are critical in the game against surprising Mongolia, which has come all the way from the qualifiers to make it this far.
Alapag has been playing with an ankle sprain while Pingris hasn’t played since the quarterfinal game against Korea and Reyes said the two are still in doubt for the team's farewell game.
“It depends on how they feel. Hindi ko pa alam,” said Reyes.
Mongolia went 2-1 win-loss in the Group A qualifiers and beat Rajko Toroman-coached Jordan in the preliminary round, enough for the team to advance to the quarterfinals.
Mongolia lost all its games in the quarters but Reyes said the team remains dangerous.
“They are very tough,’ Reyes said. “They are very resilient and that’s going to be a problem for us especially if we don’t have a full lineup.”
Gabe Norwood agreed.
“Mongolia has been playing great. A lot of people will see the name and will assume it as an easy game but it’s not. They have been playing good basketball. They are very skilled in every position. It’s going to be another tough one where we have to work hard and come out with a win,” Norwood said.
Uuganbayar Oyuntsetseg and Bilguun Battuvshin were the top scorers for Mongolia with 25 and 21 points respectively in their 87-78 loss to Qatar at the start of the classification round on Tuesday.