FIBA World Cup: Plenty of positives for Gilas in Spain camp

Camille B. Naredo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Aug 14 2019 11:31 PM

MANILA, Philippines -- Members of the Philippines national team barely took a break after their arrival from Spain, instead reporting back for duty on Wednesday night to practice at the Meralco Gym.

Gilas Pilipinas arrived Tuesday night following a productive training camp in Spain, which saw them play Ivory Coast and Congo twice. They missed out on a chance to play the Marc Gasol-led Spanish national team, but it was the only blemish in what had been a much-needed camp for the Filipinos.

"The camp was good. It was all that we expected. Except of course we wanted to play Spain pero hindi natin nakalaban 'yung Spain. But nonetheless, we played 4 good games  -- 2 against Congo, and 2 against Ivory Coast," said Gilas Pilipinas coach Yeng Guiao after Wednesday night's training session.

Playing against those teams was a massive help for Gilas, as they "approximate" Serbia and Italy, the two European teams in the Philippines' group in the FIBA World Cup, as well as Angola.

"So, we were able to gain that experience, that knowledge, that we set out to do in the first place, kaya tayo nagpunta doon," said Guiao.

Guiao only had 9 players in his rotation during the games, with Kiefer Ravena still suspended and Gabe Norwood sustaining a slight groin strain early in camp.

Yet even with these limitations, the team flourished, compiling a 3-1 win-loss record. Guiao was especially impressed with the performances of their rookies, CJ Perez and Robert Bolick, and was glad to see the team improve chemistry both on and off the court.

"We also have a basis now for making some adjustments, we're running some new plays and making adjustments on defense because of what we were able to see in Spain. So lahat naman, nagawa natin," he said.

With just 2 weeks left before the World Cup, the team's preparations are expected to further intensify.

They will continue to have daily practices for the next 2 weeks, and will extend practice time next week when players from TNT KaTropa and San Miguel Beer join them following the Finals of the PBA Commissioner's Cup.

On August 23 and 25, they will play exhibition games against an Australian team, the Adelaide 36ers.

"After that, we have another 4 or 5 days to make adjustments, so that's going to be the final adjustment," said Guiao.

Guiao expects to release his final 12-man line-up after their game against Australia.

For more sports coverage, visit the ABS-CBN Sports website.