The SMART-Gilas Pilipinas national team will not have a showdown with the top team of China just yet.
The Asian basketball powerhouse will be sending its training team to the FIBA Asia Cup, where SMART-Gilas will also compete.
The Chinese squad, which is coached by the controversial Fan Bin, will still feature some top talent. Point guard Guo Ailun, an 18-year-old guard who played for Team China in the London Olympics, is expected to lead the charge, along with Yu Shulong, a 22-year-old point guard who also had a stint with China’s elite squad.
Dong Hanlin, an athletic 6-foot-10 forward who has drawn international attention, is expected to lead a bevy of Chinese big men, which also includes 20-year-old Li Muhao, who stands 7-foot-2, and 22-year-old 7-footer Zhonghao Xu. Several other members of the Chinese squad stand above 6-foot-10.
The Chinese team also features Zhao Tailong, the reigning slam dunk champion of the Chinese Basketball Association.
Chinese website Sohu.com first reported the lineup of the team, which is being used to train future members of the country’s elite squad.
The team’s coach Fan Bin became the subject of controversy last year when he was still calling the shots for China’s youth squad. He was suspended by the CBA after players complained about his supposedly abusive behavior. He was reinstated several weeks later.
The FIBA Asia Cup, slated September 14 to 22 in Tokyo, Japan, is the second step for SMART-Gilas in its buildup for next year’s FIBA Asia Championship, where three seats for the 2014 FIBA World Cup are at stake. The Philippine team is coming off a rousing victory at the 34th William Jones Cup, bringing home the title for the first time in 14 years.
SMART-Gilas is scheduled to face China in its opening match on September 14. The Philippines and China are drawn with Lebanon, Uzbekistan, and Macau in Group A, while Iran, Chinese Taipei, Qatar, Japan, and India comprise Group B.
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