Brownlee Brownlee in action. PSC/POC photo

Tough test for Gilas

February 22, 2024 Robert Andaya 147 views

ALL eyes will be on Gilas Pilipinas when it take on dangerous Hong Kong in the 2025 FIBA Asia Cup Qualifiers at the Tsuen Wan Stadium in Hong Kong.

Gilas Pilipinas head coach Tim Cone said the Filipinos cannot take the lower-ranked but dangerous Hong Kong side, especially since the game will be played in their opponent’s home court.

This will be the first time that the Filipinos will return to court following their successful campaign in the Asian Games in Hangzhou, China last year.

“We need every little support that we can get. We are still searching for ourselves. We haven’t found ourselves by any means. We know that we’re not gonna be good now as we are in the next two and three windows but we do feel we have the foundation,” Cone told sportswriters.

The veteran mentor from crowd favorite Barangay Ginebra claimed he is looking at the few windows of the qualifiers as the chance to establish the foundations of his system and philosophy as part of the four-year program for the team.

Expected to lead Gilas against Hong Kong is PBA Best Import Justin Brownlee, who is still trying to gain his shape following a three-month layoff.

Joining Brownlee are CJ Perez, Calvin Oftana, Scottie Thompson and Chris Newsome, who are part of the FIBA World Cup team that also included Dwight Ramos, Kai Sotto and Jamie Malonzo.

Gilas, however, will be missing the services of ‘Twin Towers’ June Mar Fajardo and AJ Edu.

Taking their place is Japeth Aguilar, who is stepping in for the February window.

Hong Kong will be a dangerous opponent.

Leading Hong Kong is veteran Duncan Reid.

.Reid is no stranger to Philippine brand of basketball, having played in the PBA during his stint with the Bay Area Dragons.

.Reid also battled Aguilar, Thompson, Brownlee and Malonzo during the epic seven-game series against Barangay Ginebra in the Commissioner’s Cup last season.

Hong Kong is coming off a solid showing in the pre-qualifying event, finishing in the top 4 along with Guam, Mongolia and Thailand to advance to the qualifying phase.

Hong Kong, however, is also missing some of its key players in Choi Kwan Tsai and Shiu Wah Leung who led the scoring for Hong Kong in the Asia Cup pre-qualifiers.