Gilas, saddled by excess baggage, puts mettle on the line vs Bahrain


HANGZHOU—The men’s 5×5 team that flew with unnessacry extra baggage wrought by accreditation issues take on Bahrain at the start of the basketball competitions Tuesday in the 19th Asian Games.

It will be a tough battle for head coach Tim Cone and Gilas Pilipinas as the all-pro squad takes on a Bahrain facing a “challenge” from major adversities in the last two weeks leading to the continental showpiece.

“I think they are going to be a challenge out there,” the most successful coach in Philippine Basketball Association history said of Bahrain.

The match is set at 1:30 p.m. at the Zijingang University inside the Zhejiang University.

Gilas will enter the venue despite the absence of an official confirmation from the Hangzhou Asian Games Organizing Committee is Kevin Alas, Marcio Lassiter, Chris Ross, Arvin Tolentino and CJ Perez will be allowed to play.

They took over the spots of Terrence Romeo, Calvin Abueva, Mo Tautuaa and Jason Perkins who were denied accreditation and Roger Pogoy who’s injured.

Gilas viewed videos on Monday and held practice at the Dongzan Arena Olympic Sports Shop for the second straight time since arriving Sunday.

Bahrain, which joins the Philippines, Thailand and Jordan in Group C, is coming off a rousing campaign in the FIBA Olympic Pre-Qualifying Tournament (OQT) in Damascus last month which it dominated with five straight wins.

As champion of the pre-OQT, Bahrain became the first country to secure a berth in the OQT for the Paris 2024 Olympics.

Former Philippine Basketball Association import Dwayne Chism leads Bahrain’s campaign, along with Mustafa Rashe, and Muzamil Ameer Hamooda.

Cone and his coaching staff are familiar with both players.

“They are going to pose some problems because they shoot the ball really well. They put a lot of pressure out there,” Cone said. “They are not a big team which is unusual for a Middle East team.”

“Usually, Middle East teams are really big, but they [Bahrain] are a little different that they are quick and they can shoot,” he added.

After Bahrain, Thailand bannered by Tyler Lamb, and the Rondae Hollis-Jefferson-led Jordan are up next for Gilas.

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