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Sep 06, 2019

Guiao says deep rotation could be an advantage for Gilas Pilipinas in duel against Tunisia

BEIJING - As they face yet another bigger team in Tunisia Friday night in the FIBA World Cup, Gilas Pilipinas coach Yeng Guiao feels they have something they can use to their advantage in the classification game - a relatively deeper bench.

"Tunisia has a lot of size and they also have NBA talent but what we see as an advantage would be our deeper rotation," Guiao said ahead of the 8 p.m. Group N matchup at Wukesong Sport Arena in the Chinese capital.

"They have five or six players getting majority of the minutes so if we could perhaps tire them out or get some of them in foul trouble, it would really help us," the Philippine tactician said.

7-foot-1 center Salah Mejri, who plays for the Dallas Mavericks, leads the key players getting the heavy minutes for Tunisia.

Mejri, who averaged 17 points, 10 rebounds, 2.3 assists and 2 blocks back in the first round, played 31 minutes in their 64-67 loss to Puerto Rico, 36 in their 79-67 victory over Iran, and 29 in their 101-62 blowout loss to Spain.

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Point guard Omar Obada, shooting guards Michael Roll and Mourad El Mabrouk, and power forward Makram Ben Romdhane also logged in at least 30 minutes each group game.

For Gilas, Blatche has played the longest, clocking 30 minutes against Italy, 28 against Serbia and 42 in the overtime setback to Angola while only three or four others got more than 20 in their stints the court each match.

If Angola was a tough nut, Tunisia should be tougher.

The Tunisians showed their quality by dismantling one of the Philippines' toughest Asian rivals, Iran, by 12 points back in Group C.

"Tunisia is not an easy opponent. They defeated Iran and we have a tough time beating the Iranians in the Asian circuit," said Guiao.

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Gilas is fighting for a better standing in the global showpiece while also trying to stay in the hunt for the 2020 Olympic berth allotted for the top Asian finisher here.(OL)