The Philippine national men’s basketball team is set to face Saudi Arabia in the main game of the FIBA Asia Championship opener on August 1 at the SM Mall of Asia Arena.
SMART-Gilas Pilipinas coach Chot Reyes picked the obvious choice in facing the Saudis, who are considered the inferior team among the squads included in Group A. Also in the group are powerhouse Jordan and solid Chinese Taipei.
The multi-titled PBA coach, who will be on his second tour of duty as head coach of the national squad in the tournament, said he only had one expectation against in their game against a team whose country is known more for its superiority in football.
“To win,” Reyes wrote in a text message to InterAKTV.
The fiery mentor added that the game against the Saudis will be a good preparation for tougher battles in the next two days – against Jordan on Aug. 2 and Chinese Taipei on Aug. 3.
All of the games of the Philippines will be held at 8:30 p.m., part of the privilege of being the host squad.
Also seeing action on opening day at the MOA Arena are Iran, which goes up against Malaysia at 11 a.m. Jordan battles Chinese Taipei at 1:15 p.m., Japan faces Qatar at 3:30 p.m., China squares off with Korea at 5:45 p.m. and Lebanon meets Hong Kong at 10:30 p.m.
Games will also be played at the Ninoy Aquino Stadium in Vito Cruz, Manila as Kazakhstan and Thailand tangle at 6 p.m. while India and Bahrain battle it out at 8:30 p.m.
Top three teams from Group A and Group B will combine with the top four of the joint groups heading to the knockout stage of the combined side of Groups C and D.