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Philippine National Basketball Team Prepares for FIBA World Cup Asian Qualifiers Against Lebanon at Home Court


Philippine National Basketball Team

The Philippine national basketball team, is set to face off against Group E leader Lebanon in the sixth window of the FIBA World Cup Asian Qualifiers. The game will take place at the Philippine Arena, the country's largest indoor arena, and is expected to draw a massive home crowd.

One of the highlights of the game is the debut of newly-naturalized player Justin Brownlee, who hopes to carry over his winning performance with Ginebra to the national team. Brownlee will be joined by PBA stalwarts Scottie Thompson, June Mar Fajardo, CJ Perez, and Jamie Malonzo, as well as overseas-based players Dwight Ramos and Kiefer and Thirdy Ravena.

The game is also an opportunity for Gilas to seek revenge against Lebanon, who defeated them 85-81 in their previous matchup in Beirut. The Filipinos are hoping to win this time on their home court and secure a spot in the FIBA World Cup.

However, the Cedars will not be fielding their top playmaker Wael Arakji and top rebounder Ali Haidar in the return match. Nonetheless, they still pose a significant challenge with their strong frontliners and relatively undersized Filipino team.

Gilas coach Chot Reyes emphasizes the importance of rebounding, and the team is bringing a "protect-our-home" mentality to the game. Fajardo, who returns to the national team after being sidelined by a throat injury, emphasizes the pride of winning on home court and not allowing themselves to be defeated.

The game is expected to draw a massive crowd, with Brownlee hoping for a turnout similar to the record-breaking 54,589 crowd that cheered Ginebra in the PBA Governors' Cup Game 7 against Hong Kong's Bay Area Dragons. Reyes also acknowledges the challenge of facing the best team in Asia and sees the game as an excellent opportunity for Gilas to test themselves.

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