Training camp in Lithuania, invitationals lined up for Smart Gilas PilipinasBy Celest R. Flores
MANILA, Philippines—A training camp in Lithuania and other plans are in order for Smart Gilas Pilipinas as part of its rigorous build-up for the Fiba Asia Championships.
After naming his 17-man pool on Thursday, National team head coach Chot Reyes also bared the plans for Smart Gilas leading up to August.
With the PBA Commissioner’s Cup opening this weekend, practices so far are limited to Monday meetings, starting February 11.
But “as soon as the players become available, we shall practice more regularly,” said Reyes in an interview at the PBA office in Libis, Quezon City.
Reyes hopes to get at least a week of practice after the second conference, with all of the players from the pool present, before they fly to Lithuania.
“We’ll play the top six Lithuanian ball clubs and will also have the former coach of Lithuanian national team work with the boys for 12 days,” Reyes said of the camp slated from June 2 to 16.
Reyes also said that they were planning a week-long invitational at the end of June here in Manila.
“We’ll invite some international teams, most probably the Middle Eastern teams,” said Reyes, who has always pointed out the height advantage of the squads from the Middle East.
The first real test before the Fiba Asia Championships comes midway in July as Smart Gilas defends its title in the Williams Jones Cup.
PBA Commissioner Chito Salud also shared the league’s plans to give “maximum exposure to our (national) team.”
“We decided to tweak our All-star game by allowing the Gilas team to go against a PBA selection for the main game,” said Salud.
Reyes is hopeful that these preparations will put Smart Gilas “in our sharpest shape when Fiba Asia begins. ”
“The goal is to make the top three but the dream is to win it all,” Reyes said as Fiba Asia dangles three slots to the 2014 Fiba Worlds in Spain.