FIBA Rankings: PHL - 28, FRA - 5

This is the first meeting of both teams since 2014, when they met in a pocket tournament in Antibes, France. Gilas lost in that game, 75-68, but they won a lot of respect as they hung tough and even led in the fourth quarter. Gilas hit 12 threes in that game, and they will have to shoot well again from long distance if they are to put up a stiff challenge against the French. Andray Blatche and Paul Lee led Gilas with 12 points each, while Nicolas Batum netted 16 markers and 11 boards for France, which did not have Tony Parker.

PHL keys to win: 
1. Outside shooting - Our shooters need to be on-target here to open up things in the paint, which will make life easier for Andray Blatche and Jayson Castro to penetrate. Jeff Chan, Ryan Reyes, RDO, and Terrence Romeo all have to wax hot.

2. Get Blatche going - Without a doubt, Blatche needs to get going in this game. He is our most versatile offensive weapon, and he will need to be effective for us to stand a chance. He has to score a lot or, if not, make a lot of plays for his teammates, who may be open since the big guy will attract a lot of defensive attention.

3. Keep it close - Gilas cannot afford to fall behind big against a team like France. The Pinoys have to try and keep the score as close as possible. If the score is close late in the game, anything can happen.

FRA keys to win: 
1. Dominate inside - FRA certainly has the bigger team, and they have versatile frontcourt players. Dominating the paint is a must against a smaller team like the Philippines.

2. Strong guard play - Tony Parker and Nando De Colo are going to be FRA’s 1-2 punch in the backcourt, and they should come out strong against their Filipino counterparts.

3. Don’t get cocky - One intangible that FRA needs to keep in check is their confidence level. They cannot afford to be complacent even against a team ranked much lower than them like PHL. If they leave the door open late in the game for Gilas, the Pinoys may just spring an upset.

Japeth Aguilar - 6’9 - 29
Andray Blatche - 6’11 - 29
Jayson Castro - 5’10 - 29
Jeff Chan - 6’2 - 33
Ranidel De Ocampo - 6’6 - 34
June Mar Fajardo - 6’10 - 26
Gabe Norwood - 6’5 - 31
Ray Parks - 6’4 - 23
Marc Pingris - 6’6 - 34
Ryan Reyes - 6’2 - 32
Terrence Romeo - 6’0 - 24
Troy Rosario - 6’7 - 24

FRANCE roster
Nicolas Batum - 6’8 - 27
Nando De Colo - 6’5 - 29
Boris Diaw - 6’8 - 34
Antoine Diot - 6’3 - 27
Mickael Gelabale - 6’7 - 33
Thomas Huertel - 6’3 - 27
Charles Kahudi - 6’7 - 29
Joffrey Lauvergne - 6’11 - 24
Adrien Moerman - 6’8 - 27
Tony Parker - 6’2 - 34
Florent Pietrus - 6’7 - 35
Kim Tillie - 6’11 - 27

Key Players:
Andray Blatche - His size, scoring, and playmaking will be critical in this game. He’ll need to diversify, however. If he holds or dribbles the ball too much from the wings, Gilas tends to stagnate, so there needs to be an adjustment in that aspect.

Jayson Castro - Castro definitely needs to step up, especially since he will be matched up with Parker. He will probably be a marked man, though, so he should also be conscious about getting his teammates involved in the offense.

Terrence Romeo - With Blatche and Castro probably marked men here, Romeo will be expected to step up when it comes to scoring for PHL’s second unit. If Romeo manages to catch fire for Gilas, that’ll put a lot of pressure on the FRA reserves to rise to the occasion.

Tony Parker - Parker is FRA’s most high profile player, and he will be expected to be productive here. He may no longer be this team’s top scoring option, but he is still among their main quintet. His defense on Castro and playmaking will be crucial.

Nando De Colo - De Colo will probably be the team’s #1 scoring option from long range. Expect him to come off screens and to take pull-up jumpers with great abandon. If he gets hot, PHL will be in very big trouble.

Nicolas Batum - Batum’s length, athleticism, and versatility make him a nightmare of a match-up. Ray Parks, Gabe Norwood, and Jeff Chan will have their hands full trying to contain Batum. He can affect the game in so many ways — scoring, rebounding, defense, and playmaking. *As of this writing, Batum just arrived in MNL and may not play yet due to contract negotiations in the NBA.

Key Match-up: Jayson Castro x Tony Parker
- This is the match-up everyone wants to see. Parker is renowned as one of the best PGs in Europe and the NBA, while Castro has been the best PG in Asia since 2013. Castro should have a slight edge in speed and shooting, but Parker’s experience, shiftiness, and ability to finish in the paint and in traffic make him a very dangerous foe.

All images are from FIBA.com.




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Just a suggestion: Black font-White background, so readers doesn't get dizzy whenever they go to your page. Thanks!


Yes. Planning to change it soon :)