With less than two weeks remaining before Gilas Pilipinas’ crucial tiffs against Japan and Chinese Taipei in the FIBA Asia World Cup Qualifiers, the team has begun to ramp up their preparations by heading out of town for a three-day training camp in Tagaytay City.
As soon as Monday morning practice concluded in the Meralco Gym, the Gilas pool members and coaching staff hit the road for Tagaytay, where they will stay for three days up until November 15. In an interview with Fraulein Olavario of News5, Gilas Head Coach Chot Reyes said that one of the main objectives of the three-day session in Tagaytay was to improve on the deficiencies the team showed in their Saturday morning loss to ABL team Alab Pilipinas.
“[We need to] work on the things that Alab [Pilipinas] beat us badly in like rebounding, playing defense,” Reyes said. “We’re not worried so much about our offense, it’s the other things.”
Gilas lost to Alab Pilipinas 81-76 in their tuneup game, and Reyes had some very sharp words for his team right after. However those words were reserved for the media present only. “‘Di ko na sila kinausap,” Reyes admitted when the topic of his frustrations with the team came up. “Ano pang pag-uusapan namin. Drama pa kami diba? I didn’t even talk to them after the game.”
Many people were expecting that this pool of players would be able to hit the ground running, since many of the players had just come from stints in FIBA Asia and the SEA Games in August. But that hasn’t been the case, as evidenced by their performance last Saturday. Reyes said that the team’s chemistry is also one of the big reasons why the team has chosen to go out of town, away from distractions.
“Para kaming di marunong magbasketball the last game,” Reyes said. “So chemistry is only chemistry when things are clicking but if things are not clicking, then there’s no chemistry to speak of. Hopefully, we’re able to work on that up there in Tagaytay.”
And while the team has already begun to practice, help is on the way. Andray Blatche has posted on social media that he is set to arrive in the Philippines soon, and will likely make it in time to join the team in Tagaytay. The last time that Blatche was with Gilas, the team successfully won the 2017 SEABA tournament, and all eyes will be on him and if he will be able to tow Gilas to wins against Japan and Chinese Taipei.
It might be a rough stretch right now for the national team, but help and hope are on the horizon.