Two years ago, Gilas Pilipinas massively trashed Senegal in the FIBA World Cup, which was Filipinos first ever victory in the world stage after solid 40 years. Now, that Senegal has travelled to Manila for FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament, the African side hopes to swallow Gilas in the upcoming face-off.
The odds do not favour Gilas Pilipinas, neither the team is better in displaying their mysterious playing style just like they did in 2014 World Cup. The win after 1974 was a memorable one, in spite of blowing a 13-point halftime lead; Pilipinas pushed themselves till end, outplaying Senegal in overtime. Several players played hard for the Philippines, including Captain Jimmy Alapag who left the national team after the game and June Mar Fajardo and Paul Lee. That time, Gilas beat Senegal, 81-79 in Seville, Spain among which Senegal player Mouhammed Faye and Goregui Dieng played extraordinarily, but couldn’t survive.
Since most players are from American school and been constantly playing well in European and Middle Eastern Leagues, all final 12, Fisac should offer group mates from Canada and Turkey some hard times.
Senegal’s top scorer, Antoine Mendy, a 6’6 wingman gave an average of 16.3 ppg in Afrobasket last year. The maven is also a prominent fixture of French leagues, also not to forget 6’9 forward Ohio Bobcat standout Maurice Ndour, who is associated to Real Madrid’s Spanish Cup.
Although everybody’s eye are on Ibrahima Thomas, expert Xame D’Almeida and former Milwaukee Panther Thierno Niang can make the ball rolling to confuse Gilas veterans. Thomas, 6’11 is remarkable in playing both center and power forward and could even come up stronger for the upcoming clash.
Senegal’s 14-player squad for 2016 FIBA OQT in Manila: Adama Louis Adams, Moussa Camara, Serigne Bamba Gueye, Cheikh Tidiane Mbodj, Antoine Mendy, El Hadji Malick Ndiaye, Hamady Ndiaye, Thierno Ibrahima Niang, Maurice Daly Ndour, Abdoulaye Ndoye, El Hadji Maleye Ndoye, Youssoupha Ndoye and Ibrahima Thomas. Coach: Porfirio Fisac.