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Qatar coach Lewis on battling Gilas behind closed doors: "I’m sure the game will have a different feel"

Tim Lewis is anticipating a different kind of basketball game as Qatar plays behind closed doors.
By Ivan Saldajeno

QUEZON CITY--Thanks to the new qualification rule for the FIBA World Cup, Qatar has been playing in packed arenas every game.

But Monday night's match-up against Gilas Pilipnas will be an uncharted territory for the Middle Eastern squad as the said tiff will be played behind closed doors inside the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

"I’m sure the game will have a different feel to it," Coach Tim Lewis said on Sunday after the Qatari practice here.

Personally, Lewis, who was once an assistant to erstwhile Gilas mentor Chot Reyes last year, admitted that he was expecting a raucous crowd for the said game.

"I think we were looking to play in a packed environment for the experience and the atmosphere for the players," he further said. "I’ve coached teams where we played in gyms. Not many fans there. Here you don’t expect that thou. Especially when you are playing against Gilas."

As part of the sanctions FIBA handed to the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas after Gilas engaged in a brawl with Australia in Bocaue during their July 2 match, the Gilas-Qatar game will be a closed-door affair.

[Related Story: Gilas-Qatar game to be played behind closed doors]

However, the SBP set up a viewing party of the game at the Eastwood Activity Area here.

Follow him on Twitter: @IvanSaldajeno