Watch the Gilas vs. New Zealand live stream as the Philippine national men?s basketball team dubbed as the Gilas Pilipinas try to stay in contention in the ongoing 2016 FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament hosted by the Philippines at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City, Metro Manila.
Game Schedule July 6 @ Mall of Asia Arena
6:30 p.m. (6:30 a.m. EDT) Group Phase – Group A Canada vs Senegal 9 p.m. (9 a.m. EDT) Group Phase – Group B – Philippines vs New Zealand
The Gilas Pilipinas is bracketed in Group B alongside France and New Zealand. They already bowed to France, 84-93, Tuesday, July 5. If you want to watch a replay of that exciting game, click here.
Group A is made up of Canada, Turkey and Senegal. The top two teams from each group will advance to the crossover semifinals with the winners contesting a slot to the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.
With the loss to France, the Gilas Pilipinas match against New Zealand which will be happening in a couple of hours, is a must win for them to stay in the running for a ticket to the Rio Olympics. The last time that the Philippines reached the Olympics was more than four decades ago in 1972.
Aside from their skills and passion for the sport, the Gilas Pilipinas will once again revel in their homecourt advantage and rely on the passionate Filipino crowd who awed NBA superstar Tony Parker of the San Antonio Spurs, who is playing for his home team France.
However, the Gilas Pilipinas may have an unlikely weapon against the New Zealand team ? their current head coach Tab Baldwin.
Baldwin is half New Zealander-half American who has coached the New Zealand national team for six years from 2001 to 2006. The New Zealand national team even barged into the semifinals of the 2002 FIBA World Championship under the tutelage of Baldwin. This means that Baldwin is familiar with the Gilas Pilipinas? opponent later. And, that familiarity could help the Gilas clinched a must needed win.
The Gilas could also draw inspiration from their loss against France as ending with a 9-point deficit against the No. 5 ranked team in the world is not something that a 28th ranked Gilas Pilipinas should be ashamed of.
If that is not enough, then they should also basked in the words of Parker who said that the win was not an easy one for France as the Gilas Pilipinas made them work hard for it.
The Gilas Pilipinas even managed to take the lead of the game until France started closing in in the middle of the second canto. Andray Blatche waxed hot with 14 points in the first quarter allowing the Gilas to take a 30-22 lead. Blatche eventually topscored for the home team with 21 points while France was towed by Nando de Colo who sank 27 points.
Blatche will be suiting up again for the Gilas alongside Jayson Castro, who has been named as Asia?s best point guard. Joining them are Terrence Romeo, June Mar Fajardo, Gabe Norwood, Japeth Aguilar, Ray Parks, Ryan Reyes, Troy Rosario, Jeff Chan, Marc Pingris and Ranidel De Ocampo.
New Zealand, on the other hand, will rely on their leading scorer Corey Webster, Mika Vukona and ?big men Isaac Fotu and Miachael Karena.
The Tall Blacks may not have much of a height advantage over the Gilas Pilipinas except for their big men in Fotu and Karena. Other members of the team are Tai Jack Webster, Shea Ili, Everard Bartlett, Derone Raukawa, Thomas Abercrombie, Benny Anthony, Robert Loe and Jordan Ngati.
Prior to the Gilas vs New Zealand game, Canada will face Senegal first at 6:30 p.m. Philippine time (6:30 a.m. EDT).