GILAS Pilipinas tries to bounce back from its stinging loss to Chinese-Taipei Saturday night as it tests the mettle of Japan to open the its campaign in the second round of the 27th Fiba-Asia Men’s Championship preliminaries on Monday night.
The clash with the Japanese is set at 8:30 p.m. at the Mall of Asia Arena in a game that should serve as the perfect avenue for the national team to get back on the winning track following its failure to complete a three-game sweep of the first round with a 79-84 loss to the Taiwanese.
After Japan, Gilas tackles Jarvis Hayes and Qatar on Tuesday in what perhaps should be its biggest test in the second round, before ending its campaign with another highly-charged match opposite Hong Kong prior to the knockout quarterfinal phase.
“Must-win itong three games namin, kailangan naming ipanalo talaga,” said point guard Jayson William, who finished with 11 points in a losing effort against the Taiwanese.
The Final Eight is set on Friday following a one-day break on Thursday.
“The rest would be good,” said Gilas naturalized player Marcus Douthit Sunday when the 10-day tournament took a break.
He added, “We just got to put this game behind us,” referring to the loss to Chinese-Taipei where the nationals blew a 13-point lead entering the fourth quarter.
The nationals will carry with them a 2-1 record in Group E where they are joined by Japan (1-2), unbeaten teams Chinese-Taipei (3-0) and Qatar (2-0), Jordan (1-2), and Hong Kong (0-2).
The Taiwanese and Qataris topped Groups A and B, respectively.
Mighty Iran (3-0) meanwhile, leads Group F wherei it is joined by South Korea (2-1), reigning champion China (1-2), Kazakhstan (3-0), Bahrain (2-1), and India (1-2).
The Iranians emerged as the best team in Group C, while Kazakhstan was No. 1 in Group D.
Qatar and Jordan kicks off hostilities for the week as they face each other in the first of a seven-game offering at 10:30 a.m.
Iran takes on India in the second match, followed by the Chinese-Taipei-Hong Kong tussle.
China, the 15-time champion which has been struggling in the tournament serving as qualifier to the World Basketball Championship next year, goes up against Kazakhstan in an interesting match-up to be proceeded by the Gilas Pilipinas-Japan outing.
Capping the day is the action between South Korea and Bahrain.