GILAS Pilipinas enters the finals stretch of its FIBA World Cup preparations when it plays the visiting Adelaide 36ers in the first of a two-game friendlies Friday at the Meralco gym.
The 6 p.m. game to be played behind closed-door, will see the national team playing full-force for the first time as June Mar Fajardo, Troy Rosario, and Roger Pogoy rejoin Gilas after missing the entire 10-day training camp in Spain due to the PBA Commissioner's Cup finals.
"We anticipate a good game against the Adelaide 36ers," said coach Yeng Guiao.
After Friday, the two sides will meet again on Sunday also at the same venue.
Guiao said the friendlies are also going to be the basis to choose the final 12-man roster of the team for the world meet. The official line-up is expected to be named either after Sunday's game or on Monday.
The 36ers are also using the tune-up matches as part of their pre-season preparation for the National Basketball League (NBL), where the ballclub has a long, winning tradition as a four-time champion.
But coach Joey Wright, the former Presto import who saw action in the PBA during the 1992 season, said the 36ers are out to give Gilas some 'serious competition' as it gears up for its World Cup campaign that kicks off in China next week.
"We look forward of trying to help you guys. That's what we're here for," said Wright, now 50, and a three-time NBL champion coach.
"We're here for them more than they are for us," he added. "We expect them to be passionate and play great basketball, while we try to get out there and work on some things for ourselves."
The tune-up games will be the last in Gilas' itinerary for the World Cup as the team is scheduled to leave for Foshan, China next Wednesday. (RG)