With the 27th Fiba Asia Championship just around the corner, Gilas Pilipinas will spend the last few days before the start of the Aug. 1-11 tournament working on its mental toughness.
“From hereon, it’s mostly mental preparation and sharpening,” said Gilas coach Chot Reyes after the men’s national team concluded a series of international tuneup games against Central Asia powerhouse Kazakhstan on Friday night.
Long-range ace Jeff Chan hit a decisive three in the closing seconds that lifted the Filipinos to a 92-89 victory over the Kazakhs, a possible opponent for Gilas in the quarterfinals of the 16-nation tournament.
The team of PBA stars will wrap up its preparation with three more practice sessions before touching off its campaign in the Asian championship against Saudi Arabia on Thursday at the MOA Arena.
On his second tour of duty as national head coach of an all-pro squad, Reyes said they watched the video against the Kazakhs, talked about it and capped yesterday’s practice with a shoot-around at the Arena.
“We’ll take Sunday (today) off. That’s going to be our last break before the last three practices. We don’t want to overlook Saudi but obviously, we’re really preparing hard against Jordan and Taipei,” said Reyes.
The Philippines is bracketed in Group A with Jordan, Chinese Taipei and Saudi Arabia. The best three teams after the first round advance to the second phase of the group stages.