This Wednesday, the FIBA Asia Cup continues with a few exciting games. The Philippines are in a very difficult group with two teams that could potentially win the tournament, namely New Zealand and Lebanon. The Philippines came into the tournament with quite a few injuries and have had to rejuvenate their squad. They will have their job cut out for them, but since India is playing abysmal basketball recently, they should advance from the group without much trouble.
Lebanon Team News
There is no doubt that one of Asia’s most interesting and dynamic basketball teams right now is Lebanon. Their talented team will be captained by Jonathan Arledge, a recent addition who will be receiving most of the backing from Wael Arakji, a legendary Asian goal scorer.
They destroyed every opponent they faced in their World Cup qualification stage and arrived in Jakarta with great energy. For now, they have to take care of business against a somewhat depleted Filipino team first, but the match versus New Zealand will later reveal their actual worth.
Philippines Team News
The national basketball team of the Philippines, Gilas Pilipinas, has recently undergone numerous changes. Moreover, the Gilas has been playing with primarily a cadet team from a university, bolstered by a few seasoned stars from their domestic league, as a result of their federation’s decision to make significant adjustments following their big brawl in the game against Australia four years ago.
They will be led in this competition by their iconic coach Chot Reyes, who was able to continue in that capacity despite their poor performance at the most recent SEA Games. Every time the Philippines competes in the South East Asian Games, they are the clear favorites, but this time they were surprised in the final by a revitalized Indonesian team.
Their coach has been very careful with his statements and has very low hopes for this tournament because he survived one of the worst tragedies in their recent basketball history. He will once more need to rely on young but promising college players in addition to a few reliable veterans in the form of the brothers Ravena, Bobby Ray Parks, and imposing center Poy Erram.
Possible Team Starters
Wael Arakji, Ali Mansour, Karim Zeinoun, Elie Chamoun, Hayk Gyokchyan, Jonathan Arledge, Gerard Hadidian, Mohamed Ali-Haidar
Dwight Ramos, Francis Leo Lopez, Bobby Ray Parks, Thirdy Ravena, RJ Abarrientos, Kiefer Ravena, Kevin Quiambao, Shaun Chiu
For the past couple of years, Gilas has had a new-look team for practically every competition, and the Asia Cup is no exception. They initially appear to have what it takes to compete with the greatest teams, but over the past few days, they have taken a number of significant blows to their lineup, most notably the loss of Dwight Ramos.
We don’t consider them a serious threat to top teams, especially Lebanon, despite the fact that they have considerable quality. As the Filipino coach notes, Lebanon is currently playing at a very high level, making it impossible to even maintain a competitive game. So our bet is on Team Lebanon for the win!