Home » Sports » China favored over PH cagers

China favored over PH cagers


JAKARTA, Indonesia – Asi Taulava has had unforgettable clashes with Team China. And just like the previous ones, the latest isn’t bound to be any different as the Philippines takes on the ‘Great Wall’ in a crucial tiff in the Jakarta-Palembang Asian Games today at the GBK Basketball Hall here.
“There’s a lot of hate. It doesn’t matter who is on the team,” said the 45-year-old Taulava, on his fourth – and likely last – Asian Games stint. “But when we’re playing China, everybody knows we’ll be up for that game.”
“We look forward to Tuesday. Tuesday’s going to be fun… that’s one game everybody has circled,” added the 6-foot-10 center who has had great battles with China’s former NBA players Wang Zhi Zhi, Mengke Bateer and the legendary Yao Ming.
Just like in the past, China enjoys size advantage with 7-foot-2 center Zhou Qi, a member of the Houston Rockets, 6-foot-7 Ding Yanyuhang of the Dallas Mavericks, 7-footer Wang Zhelin and 6-foot-8 Abudushalamu Abudurexiti, a 22-year-old NBA prospect.
Philippine Team mentor Yeng Guiao said China’s frontline remains the biggest problem, and his coaching staff is figuring a solution to at least negate some of that advantage.
“China game is a big test, they are the overwhelming favorites,” said Guiao. “If we can solve the size differential or the size problem that we have, we will definitely fight until the end. If we can’t solve it, we’ll just scratch our head.”
The national team knows the grave consequence of losing Chin a – having to face longtime tormentor South Korea in the knockout quarterfinals.
A win will give the Filipinos the top spot in Group D and a crack at either host Indonesia or Thailand.
“After that (game against China), whatever happens, the key game’s still the third, which is a must win. So, whoever we are playing, it might be Korea or it might be a lesser opponent, we have to win it if we want to contend for a medal (in the semifinals),” added Guiao.