FIBA’s Philippine leg will kick-off with Dominican Republic facing off against host Philippines. They are a heavy favourite with their loaded and more internationally proven talent, but can Gilas scrap a good fight?
Catch the game tomorrow, August 25th, at 4:00 PM, Manila time.
Projected starting five:
- Andres Feliz
- Victor Liz
- Lester Quinones
- Karl-Anthony Towns
- Eloy Vargas
The Dominican Republic went 9-3 at the 2023 FIBA Americas Qualifiers, placing a highly respectable third in the group considering they only trailed top dogs USA and Canada. They are parading a good bunch for the World Cup, one that’s eager and capable of making a noise.
Aside from the dynamic guard play of Andres Feliz and Victor Liz, the team will also be headlined by two NBA cagers, one is Lester Quinones, who’s bound to have an increased role in his upcoming second season with the Golden Warriors – also coming off a dazzling stint at the Summer League. The 22-year-old is a ‘microwave’ scorer, and we should see it in full display in the tourney.
Obviously, the other is Minnesota Timberwolves All-Star Karl-Anthony Towns. The all-around big man should be expected to toss his weight all over the floor. He can post up, hit mid-range shots, and step out for a barrage of threes, so he’s more than able of being a headache for Gilas Pilipinas. Whatever the matchup is, he’s in solid
Philippines / Gilas Pilipinas
Projected starting five:
- Scottie Thompson
- CJ Perez
- Jordan Clarkson
- Dwight Ramos
- Junemar Fajardo
Gilas Pilipinas finished third in the 2023 Asian Qualifiers with a 6-4 card, right behind Lebanon and Australia. It featured an up-an-down performance from the ever-erratic squad, but well enough nonetheless.
The hometown boys will have an NBA talent of their own as one of the Utah Jazz’s top scorers, Jordan Clarkson, is on deck. He just had a good campaign in Salt Lake City as he was a full-time starter for the first time since the 2015-16 season – he reciprocated that trust by delivering a career-best 20.8 points per game. His confidence is high right now, and we’ll if it will carry on in the World Cup.
Backing Clarkson is a host of pinoy hoopers with varying things to offer. Junemar Fajardo’s matchup with Towns will be anticipated, as well as probable back-up big man Kai Sotto, who just saw action in the NBA Summer League.
Scottie Thompson, Dwight Ramos, and CJ Perez, meanwhile, will exude a mixture of hustle, athleticism, and shooting. It’s a good counter to what the opposition has in store. They have the tools, and can very well thrive when labelled as huge underdogs.
Handicap: Dominican Republic (-11.5) covers the spread.Over/Under: The total goes over 171.5