It's less than 24 hours before the 2015 FIBA Asia Championship kicks off—you can check out the actual countdown here—and our beloved Gilas Pilipinas squad is now raring to have a go at their Asian rivals in Changsha, China.
With our national team ranked third in the tournament's power rankings and reports of naturalized player Andray Blatche returning to form, there's a lot to be optimistic about in this year's campaign.
In preparation for the much-awaited hoops free-for-all, Inquirer Sports even came up with a dozen of infographics on each Gilas player, which included details and scouting reports:
1) WILL AGE MATTER?
Gilas 3.0 is the oldest team in the tournament with an average age of 31, bannered by its "Manong Brigade" of Dondon Hontiveros (38) and Asi Taulava (42). Will the added years prove to be a pro (experience) or a con (stamina) for our national team in FIBA Asia?
2) WILL TERRENCE ROMEO BE ABLE TO SUSTAIN HIS HOT INTERNATIONAL PLAY?
The spitfire GlobalPort guard proved to be a revelation during the recent 37th William Jones Cup (WJC), shutting down critics and at the same time endearing new basketball fans from all over the world through his level and style of play. With a bigger stage and tougher competition, will Romeo be able to cement his status as the future of Philippine basketball?
3) WILL GILAS BE ABLE TO EXACT REVENGE ON IRAN?
Hamed Haddadi's team is in Group A, which means that the soonest Gilas will have a crack at the Middle Eastern five is in the second round. Gilas, particularly Asi, (sort of) gave Haddadi a hard time in the WSJ, and with Andray Blatche in the fold this time around, we might have a solid chance of taking down our tormentors.
4) THE GOOD OR THE BAD ANDRAY BLATCHE?
Speaking of Andray, it remains a mystery if we'll be seeing his dominant 2014 FIBA Basketball World Cup self. (Hopefully not that triple double-chasing member of the Washington Wizards.) The former NBA big man voluntarily adhering to a "salad diet" is a good indication of his dedication and discipline.
5) WILL GILAS CATCH FIRE?
We've seen how this ragtag crew has turned into a defensive monster under the tutelage of Coach Tab Baldwin. But while defense wins championships, it's still vital for Gilas' scorers to consistently put up the points, so as to prevent another atrocious seven-point quarter (the team had two at the WJC). We're looking at you two, Dondon and JC (Intal).