JORDAN coach Evangelos Alexandris expects a tough match against a "strong" Gilas Pilipinas that will play in front of its home crowd on Friday in the Fiba-Asia Men’s Championship at the Mall of Asia Arena.
The Greek coach said that the home crowd will be a big factor as the new-look Jordanian side try to bounce back after bowing to Chinese Taipei, 87-91, in their debut game on Thursday.
“It will be a very, very strong team for us,” said Alexandris through an interpreter. “Philippines is really a good team. This team will have the crowd supporting them. It will be difficult.”
“We have to control our emotions,” said Alexandris, who was animated on the sidelines during the game against the Taiwanese.
Gilas Pilipinas will be facing a different Jordan team from the 2011 tournament in Wuhan, with Sam Daghlas, Zaid Abbas, and naturalized player Rasheim Wright all missing from the lineup.
The Filipino cagers split their two matches with Jordan in 2011 in Wuhan, but lost their all-important showdown in the semifinals.
Despite the opening-day loss, Alexandris still believes that they have what it takes to beat the Philippines after taking a 10-point lead against Chinese Taipei.
Jordan’s new naturalized player Jimmy Baxter also gave a good account of himself with 30 points against the Taiwanese.
“We must go through all the difficulties we will find in this game. Even though we are young, I think we have the ability to fight in every game,” Alexandris said.
Alexandris also took time off to showcase his heritage during the postgame press conference.
“I want to apologize that I don’t speak the English language. I’m proud of the Greek language and I want it to be heard in Manila,” Alexandris said.