GILAS Pilipinas will be facing Manu Ginobili as the San Antonio Spurs star is set to play for Argentina in the Fiba World Cup.
The newly-crowned NBA champion confirmed that he will play for the Argentinean national team in a column he wrote for La Nacion newspaper, the report of which was ran by the Fiba website.
The development set the stage for an interesting showdown for Gilas Pilipinas in their match-up against Argentina on September 1 in Seville.
Argentina is bracketed with the Philippines in Group B along with Senegal, Puerto Rico, Greece, and Croatia.
Ginobili is no stranger to playing for Argentina having led the country to a gold medal in the 2004 Olympics.
In his column, Ginobili, fresh from helping lead the Spurs to a finals victory over the Miami Heat in five games, said it wasn’t an easy decision since he wanted to spend the offseason with his family and three children.
But with the blessing of his wife, Ginobili agreed to play for the national team once again.
"The main reason why I am playing is because of my wife. She supported me to do it. I know she makes an effort similar or more than mine and I value it a lot.
"It's not easy to leave my children, especially when I have a chance to recover the time lost (during the NBA season). They don't understand the reason why I'm not here, perhaps when they are older they will understand,” said Ginobili.
Argentina head coach Julio Llamas is excited with having Ginobili in the national team this year as he will be joined by Indiana Pacers forward Luis Scola.
"It really improves the options of the team and helps in every sense, to be a stronger and more competitive team. Manu makes his team-mates better. The national team is very fortunate to have players like Ginobili and (Luis) Scola as devoted leaders,” said Llamas in an interview with basquetplus.com.