Philippines battles China in FIBA Asia Championship
The "Walking Great Wall of China" awaits the Philippines when it resumes its campaign in the FIBA Asia Championship in Wuhan on Friday.
The Filipinos dumped the United Arab Emirates 92-52 in their opening Group D game. The Southeast Asian powerhouse had a slow start before making their pulling away in the second period.
Mac Baracael had 15 points for the Filipinos, who were reduced to 10 men after Marcio Lassiter and Chris Lutz were both ruled ineligible for the tournament.
Tournament officials said the two players, who were both born to American fathers and Filipino mothers, cannot play unless they produce a document stating that they became Filipino citizens before the age of 16.
Despite their absence, the Filipinos had no trouble disposing of UAE. Facing mighty China, however, is a different story.
Naturalized big man Marcus Douthit will have his hands full against China's frontline spearheaded by Wang Zhizhi and Yi Jianlian while the Filipino guards should hit their targets if they are to post a monumental upset.
"This game warmed us up well for tomorrow," Philippines head coach Rajko Toroman said.
"I hope we can go at them full strength. But we will not give up without a proper fight."
An upset, however, seems to be a remote possibility based from China's performance against Bahrain in their opener. The hosts started slow but when they waxed hot, they made it looked so easy against a hapless Bahraini quintet.
Veterans Liu Wei and Yi each had 15 points to lead China to a 101-49 victory.
Despite being the favorites, head coach Bob Donewald Jr. is still downplaying his team's chances.
"All teams are just about dancing around. Can't really make a judgment at this stage," he said.
"It was good to get the guys some court time. I can’t complain considering the way we came through."
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