Longer bonding time for Gilas » Manila Bulletin Sports

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By Waylon Galvez

Gilas Pilipinas coach Chot Reyes wants more time to prepare and conduct a training camp ahead of the FIBA World Cup qualifying tournament in November, something the Nationals lacked, Reyes said, during the FIBA Asia Cup in Beirut, Lebanon.

The Philippines failed to make it to the medal round in finishing seventh out of 16 nations.

Reyes envisions a training camp where the players can develop chemistry, play three times a day for at least two weeks, and dine and travel together abroad.

That setup worked for Gilas when Reyes steered the national team to a silver medal in the 2013 FIBA Asia Championship here, which earned the country a spot in the 2014 FIBA World Cup in Spain.

The national team had similar training camp experience following the World Cup with the 2015 FIBA Asia Championship in Changsha, China and Olympic Qualifying Tournament (OQT) here last year.

Gilas Pilipinas – through the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) – has an existing memorandum of agreement (MOA) with the PBA in forming the national team for elite tournaments like the home-and-away FIBA Asia qualifying tournament.

The ongoing PBA Governors’ Cup is expected to end late October, and Reyes said this would give the national team ample time to prepare for the next event.

According to Reyes, they are constantly communicating with PBA Commissioner Chito Narvasa.

A meeting is also scheduled between Gilas management and top SBP officials, led by ice president Al Panlilio, chairman Sen. Sonny Angara and chairman emeritus Manny V. Pangilinan.

“We’ll continue to tweak the program and improve it. Yes, a MOA is in place with SBP and PBA, but there are lots of challenges. It’s not a finished product but a work in progress,” said Reyes.

“The next step is identifying a concrete training window for the national team.”

The national team is in Group B of the Asian home-and-away qualifiers with reigning Asia Cup champion Australia, Chinese Taipei and Japan. Gilas will first face the Japanese in Tokyo on Nov. 24, and then return home to host the Taiwanese on Nov. 27.

Gilas collides against the Aussies in their home soil on Feb. 22, then hosts the Japanese five days later (Feb. 27). On June 26, the Philippine team visits Taipei, then face Australia here on July 2.

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