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20 November, 2017
26 February, 2019
Can strong fan presence spur Philippines to victory in Doha?
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Can strong fan presence spur Philippines to victory in Doha?

Doha (Qatar) - Will Philippines make their FIBA Basketball World Cup 2019 qualification official, especially in front of their multitude of fans in Doha, Qatar?

Key matchup:

Philippines will likely heavily lean on center Andray Blatche to carry the load on both ends of the floor. He has been one of the Philippines' most efficient player so far, averaging 11.7 points, 11.8 rebounds, 3.5 assists and 2.2 blocks per game, though he'll have to contend with Qatari slotman, Mo Mohammed, who lit up the Philippines the last time these teams played with 26 points, 7 rebounds and 5 assists. Without a doubt, Team Pilipinas need Blatche to be a dominant force in the middle if they are to notch their sixth win in the Asian Qualifiers


Prior to Mark Barroca's return, Jayson Castro was carrying the load in terms of Philippines's playmaking. Barroca, however, brings a lot of tenacity and explosiveness to the Filipino backcourt, averaging 11.0 points, 3.2 rebounds, 3.2 assists and 1.8 steals per game in the most recent conference of the PBA. His play against guys like Moustafa Essam A A Fouda and Momar Gueye will be crucial in determining the Philippines' fate. 

Philippines outlook:

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#GilasPilipinas lands in Doha! Warm welcome from our 🇵🇭 Kababayans!

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Philippines have all the tools needed to deal Qatar a crushing defeat, and since coach Yeng Guiao's wards are coming off disappointing results in Manila, they have all the motivation they need to beat Al Annabi. They also have a ton of fan support coming their way, since the Al Gharafa Multi-Purpose Hall has been sold out, with most of the seats reportedly to be filled up by eager and rabid overseas Filipino fans. If Team Pilipinas can maximize their advantage in depth, there is ittle doubt that Qatar can match up. This means that aside from Blatche and Barroca, other guys like  Japeth Aguilar, Jayson Castro and Gabe Norwood need to bring their a-game.

Qatar outlook:

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Time for Headshots #FibaWc

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On the other end of the floor, Qatar, despite already being eliminated from World Cup contention, will be playing for pride. It's not impossible to spring an upset at home, of course, but it will certainly be very difficult, given how they will be without certain key players as well. If guys like Nasser Al-Rayes, Khalid Suliman Abdi and Hassan Mohamed can somehow help Mo Mohammed carry the load and get big numbers, then anything can happen.