MANILA, Philippines–Ivory Coast and Montenegro, two teams that will test the mettle of Gilas Pilipinas a week before the Fiba World Cup, are now in town.
The Elephants were first to arrive at Ninoy Aquino International Airport at 6 p.m. Thursday and were shortly followed by the Black Mountain led by Nikola Vučević who currently plays for the Orlando Magic.
Ivory Coast is set to battle Chot Reyes and his charges 8 p.m. on Friday night at PhilSports Arena in Pasig City for the first of the three tune-up matches in the final days of the Nationals’ ramp-up to the global showcase that kicks off Aug. 25.
The Philippines, which will co-host the quadrennial event, will play Montenegro on Aug. 21.
“We’re excited to see (Jordan Clarkson). I played against him a lot of times in the NBA, he’s a very good player. I know he takes a lot of pride in playing for the Philippines so that’s amazing but yeah, it’ll be fun,” Vucevic told reporters.
A friendly against Mexico has also been arranged for Gilas Pilipinas which is bunched with the Dominican Republic, Angola, and World No. 10 Italy in Group A of the big dance.
Team USA, replete with young NBA standouts, is scheduled to arrive in Manila on Aug. 22.
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