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Confident Gilas eyes strong start vs Hong Kong

MANILA, Philippines – A “different” Gilas Pilipinas team will try to kick off the FIBA Asia Cup 2025 qualifiers with a win as they face Duncan Reid and Hong Kong on Thursday night at the Tsuen Wan Stadium in Hong Kong.

Fresh off a historic Asian Games gold medal last year, the Filipinos will be taking the first step in their goal to make the 2028 Los Angeles Olympics with the FIBA Asia Cup qualifiers.

The 11-man Gilas team, bannered by naturalized player Justin Brownlee, big men Kai Sotto, Japeth Aguilar and Carl Tamayo, wings Calvin Oftana, Jamie Malonzo, Chris Newsome and Kevin Quiambao, and guards Scottie Thompson, CJ Perez and Dwight Ramos will look to start strong.

Earlier this week, Ramos pointed out that the current Gilas lineup is “definitely bigger” compared to previous squads.

“I would say the strength is just definitely a bigger team, everyone’s a good size, there’s a lot of ball movement now. It’s just different but I like it, I like how the team is,” Ramos told reporters.

“I just joined a couple of days ago, a lot of them have been practicing and stuff so [I] just try to join and learn as much as I can and it was easy because they all help me out, really,” he added.

Gilas will have the 7-foot-3 Sotto, 6-foot-9 Aguilar and 6-foot-8 Tamayo shoring up the frontline.

For Hong Kong, the 6-foot-8 Reid, who earlier played for the Bay Area Dragons, is the tallest player for the team.

The team is composed of Chi Lok Jolin So, Shiu Wah Leung, Tin Chi Ho, Ricky Yang, Lung Tak Tsoi, Kwan Ho Liu, Hiu Fung Chan, Tsz Kin Tam, Sui Hung Yeung, Tsz Him Wong and Oliver Xu.

Hong Kong will not have the services of Shiu Wah Leung, who led the team in scoring during the FIBA Asia Cup pre-qualifiers.

Big men AJ Edu and June Mar Fajardo will be unable to suit up for Gilas in the first window due to injuries.

Tip-off for is at 8 p.m.