CHOT Reyes was easily convinced top national basketball teams of Africa are the perfect tune-up opponents to toughen up Gilas Pilipinas in its campaign for the 2014 Fiba-World Cup in Spain.
The national coach became an instant believer of top African teams upon personally scouting them during the Fiba-Africa Championship currently being held in Abidjan, Ivory Coast.
Reyes said some of the teams could even be possibly met by the nationals in the World Cup next year.
“Watching d Afro Basket games tells me 1 thing: this should be our next tune-up series: Tunisia, Angola, Nigeria, Cameroon, Cote d ‘Ivoire (Ivory Coast),” Reyes said on his Twitter account @coachot.
The fiery Gilas mentor, who steered the national team to a runner-up finish in the Fiba-Asia Championship early this month, said the Filipinos may not stand a chance beating the African teams at the moment.
“We may lose all games to them now; but it will definitely help us, playing vs these quick, athletic & TALL teams. Morocco, Algeria, Egypt too,” he added.
Tunisia, which won its first and only Fiba-Africa Championship in 2011, is favored to clinch the title again and earn one of three berths allotted for the African continent in next year’s world championship.
As of post time, host Ivory Coast, which swept the group stage, already advanced to the quarterfinals after whipping Burkina Faso in the Round of 16.
Ivory Coast is set to meet Cameroon in the quarterfinals after it clobbered Mozambique, 75-42 in their own Round of 16 match-up.
Angola, runner up to Tunisia in the 2011 Fiba-Africa tilt, also advanced to the quarterfinals and will face Morocco next.
The Philippines is returning to the Fiba-World Cup for the first time since the country hosted the event in 1978. Gilas joins Asian champion Iran and bronze medalist South Korea as Asian representatives.
The three Asian countries will join four others which already made it to next year’s Big Dance led by Olympic champion United States, host Spain, and Fiba Oceania representatives Australia and New Zealand.