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Group swap looms as Gilas could end up in early clash with China in Asiad

Coach Yeng Guiao mulled at a possible shifting of groups in the Asian Games men's basketball tourney. Dennis Acosta (file photo)
By Ivan Saldajeno

PASIG--Gilas Pilipinas may not be in Group B of the Asian Games men's basketball competition for long.

No less than Head Coach Yeng Guiao said on Monday night that the organizing crew for the said tournament is eyeing a shuffle in the groupings that could see Gilas ending up with China and Kazakhstan in Group D.

"That's the latest I heard," Guiao told reporters after the national team practice on Monday night at the Meralco Gym.

As of posting, the tournament committee is currently meeting about the said matter.

The development came after Palestine withdrew its participation, cutting the then three-team Group D down to two.

With China and Kazakhstan known to have solid national team programs in basketball as well, Group D, once Gilas' transfer will be formalized, could now end up as the "group of death".

"Pag nangyari yun, mapapahirap ang laban natin lalo kasi two to qualify lang to the next round," continued Guiao.

While he expects China to top the group, he is also confident that Gilas will beat Kazakhstan to enter to the quarterfinals although at the expense of possibly facing South Korea next.

"Yung Kazakhstan ang pag-asa natin na talunin," Guiao expressed his bullishness. "I'm not really sure how strong the Kazakhstan team is right now, but we will start scouting and studying the way they play and we will put together a game plan kasi kailangan yun ang talagang ipanalo natin kung totoong yun nga ang grupo natin."

As it stands, Gilas is still in Group B with Iran, Syria, and UAE.

Follow him on Twitter: @IvanSaldajeno