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 FIBA-Asia: RP 5 debuts vs obscure Sri Lanka

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PostSubject: FIBA-Asia: RP 5 debuts vs obscure Sri Lanka   Thu Aug 13, 2009 11:27 pm

The Sri Lanka puzzle stands in the way of Powerade-Team Pilipinas when it formally kicks off its campaign in the 25th FIBA-Asia men’s basketball championship Thursday at the Tianjin gym in Tianjian, China.

Going into the 9 a.m. game, the Sri Lankans remain a big mystery to coach Yeng Guiao, as he hasn’t seen them play, personally or even on video tapes.
The only time the RP squad got a glimpse of their opponents came Wednesday morning during breakfast at the King Hall Hotel where both teams are staying.

“Physically, medyo maliliit," Guaio noted of the Sri Lankans, a people more known to be adept at cricket than basketball.

“Still, we don’t know anything about them," he added. “We have no scouting report on them and we haven’t seen them play."

A check with the FIBA-Asia organizers showed only the name of the 12-man roster of Sri Lanka, but no specific positions, heights and weights were included.

The Sri Lankans made it to the FIBA-Asia meet along with India following the East Asian qualifier that also involved Bangladesh and Pakistan, all cricket-playing nations.

No room for complacency

Facing a blank wall, Guiao said there should be no room for complacency in Powerade-RP’s duel against the island country in South Asia.

“We have to go all out against them regardless of what kind of team they have," said the RP coach shortly before the team went to practice at the vast Sports Hotel Wednesday.

Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) official Bernie Atienza and PBA operations and technical chief Rickie Santos later gave the RP team coaching staff last-minute insights about the Sri Lankans when they attended the team managers meeting Wednesday afternoon.

Joining them was SBP executive director Noli Eala, who arrived later in the day.

The RP-Sri Lanka game kicks off a heavy eight-game bill scheduled on opening day of the meet that serves as the qualifier to the 2010 World Basketball Championship in Turkey.

Other inaugural day matches pit Kazakhstan against Qatar, Iran against Chinese-Taipei, India against China, Indonesia against United Arab Emirates, Kuwait against Uzbekistan, Lebanon against Jordan and Japan against Korea.

The PBA-backed Team Pilipinas would be up against the Japanese on Friday (9 p.m.) and the Koreans on Saturday (9 p.m.).

Both teams dealt the country contrasting setbacks the first time they met in the Jones Cup two weeks ago.

The Japanese rallied back from a big 19-point deficit in the first half to pull off an 87-85 win while the Koreans kept the Nationals at bay in the endgame of an 83-80 victory.

Shooting guard James Yap is expected to arrive Thursday, but would miss the game against Sri Lanka. The Purefoods stalwart failed to leave together with the team to attend the burial of his mother-in-law, former President Corazon C. Aquino.

Yap is married to TV host and movie actress Kris Aquino, the youngest child of Mrs. Aquino and the late former senator Benigno ‘Ninoy’ Aquino. Prior to her death, Mrs. Aquino had instructed Yap to continue playing for flag and country.
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