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CROATIA FIRST ON TAP FOR GILAS PILIPINAS IN SEVILLA

10:30 AM February 05, 2014

Gilas Pilipinas begins its campaign in the 2014 FIBA World Cup on August 30 when it plays Croatia at the 7,000-seat Palacio Municipal de Deportes in Sevilla, a two-hour train ride from Madrid.

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Next up for the Filipinos are Greece on Aug. 31, Argentina on Sept. 1, Puerto Rico Sept. 3 and Senegal Sept. 4.

“Tough sked, pero di tayo patitinag. Lalaban ng patayan #PusongPinoy,” said Gilas coach Chot Reyes on his Twitter account @coachot.

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Gilas Pilipinas found itself in the second toughest group in the draw held in Barcelona Monday night (early Tuesday morning in Manila).

All of Team PHL’s groupmates, except Senegal, are in the Top 20 in the FIBA world ranking. Argentina is No. 3, Greece No. 5, Croatia No. 16 and Puerto Rico No. 17.

Senegal is ranked seven rungs behind the Philippines (34), but it’s surely not a patsy with its tall lineup led by seven-foot center Hamady N’Diaye of Rutgers University.

N’Diaye and company pulled off a 57-56 nail-biter over host team Ivory Coast to take third place in the FIBA Afro Championship.

Gilas Pilipinas needs to beat Senegal and pull the rug from anyone from among Argentina, Greece, Croatia and Puerto Rico to get a chance at advancing to the 16-team knockout stage.

Against Puerto Rico, the Filipinos take on a roster led by former Petron Blaze import Renaldo Balkman and NBA guards Carlos Arroyo and JJ Barea. (SB)

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