June Mar Fajardo, 4 Brgy. Ginebra players banner Team Pilipinas in game vs Kazakhstan

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For Gilas Pilipinas, the going gets tough as the end of the FIBA World Cup qualifiers nears.

Barely at third place in Group F, the Nationals look to keep spot ahead of the hard-charging Team Japan as they take on Kazakhstan and Iran in the fifth and penultimate window of the FIBAWC eliminator.

First up for the Nationals are the Kazakhs at 7:30 p.m. Friday at the MOA Arena in Pasay City. They take on the Iranians at the same venue, also at 7:30 p.m. Monday.

It’s a crucial stage where the Nationals virtually put one foot into world joust with a sweep or find themselves in a precarious spot with a lose or worse a twin setback.

But national coach Yeng Guiao promised the Nationals would be ready for the battle.

Making up the Team Phl roster against the Kazakhs are June Mar Fajardo, Greg Slaughter, Beau Belga, Japeth Aguilar, Poy Erram, Gabe Norwood, Matthew Wright, Marcio Lassiter, Scottie Thompson, LA Tenorio, Alex Cabagnot and Stanley Pringle.

Christian Standhardinger is reserved for the Iran game.