Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Gilas tests mettle of Chinese 5

SMART Gilas-Pilipinas welcomes back ace guard JV Casio and Fil-Am wingman Marcio Lassiter into its fold today when it battles one of the top teams in the Chinese Basketball League in one of two games kicking off the Philippine Invitational Challenge at the Ninoy Aquino Stadium.
The match is set at 7 p.m. with the Nationals battling the Dongguan New Century Leopards squad, one of five teams competing in the pocket tournament ending on Sunday. The Chinese team reached the semifinals of the CBA in 2008-09.
Battling in the other game at 4:30 are Jordan’s national team and Ginebra, which is playing as a guest squad.
Casio is returning from an MCL (medial collateral ligament) tear, while Lassiter injured his knee in the United States. The team missed the two in the FIBA-Asia Champions Cup last month in Doha, Qatar, where the team finished seventh out of 10 teams.
"I think it will be much better than it was in Doha. For us, it will be great to see where we are now," said the team’s Serbian coach, Rayko Toroman, during the official launching of the tourney yesterday at the Traders’ Hotel in Manila.
Gilas is using the tourney as part of its preparations for the Guangzhou Asian Games in November.
Beefing up the team is 6-foot-11 American Marcus Douthit, a candidate for naturalization.
"We want to give it our best. Our goal is the Asian Games," Toroman said.
Also competing in the four-day tournament backed by Smart Communications and Meralco is Talk N Text, also a guest team. The Tropang Texters plunge into action tomorrow against the Chinese team.

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