Gilas pool practice cut short anew, gives way to PBA playoffs
For the second straight week, national team pool practice was cut short on Monday at Meralco Gym.
With the 2016 PBA Commissioner’s Cup playoffs just around the corner, Gilas Pilipinas deputy Jong Uichico said he didn’t want to risk members of the pool, whose mother clubs will be competing in the quarterfinalsround, from getting injured at this point in time.
“The games are crucial already and I personally did not want any chances of injuries. We have some things in mind to do, but games are going to be crucial already as we enter the playoffs,” said Uichico, filling in for head coach Tab Baldwin, who is still in the US.
Uichico bared this particular Monday night session will be Gilas’ last practice before the playoffs unfurls next week.
Last week, practice abruptly ended due to lack of able bodies. This time, 10 players participated in the hour-long session with Marc Pingris, Calvin Abueva, LA Tenorio, Jayson Castro, Ranidel De Ocampo, Gabe Norwood, Japeth Aguilar, Troy Rosario, Mo Tautuaa, and cadet Kiefer Ravena broke a sweat.
June Mar Fajardo, Paul Lee, Jeff Chan, and Russel Escoto were in attendance but opted to skip.
Just like last week, Uichico said the objective was only to review of the general offensive sets in hopes that when Baldwin returns, the players will be able to go over it smoothly.
“We reviewed the swing offense so that when coach Tab returns, they still know the options. It’s just a review on the other offensive sets, the general stuff before we get to the nitty gritty of things,” he said.
The TNT head coach also said almost all of Baldwin’s instructions before he left were followed. All but the scrimmages.
“He wanted to go with some live action, but because we only had eight players last time and we’re entering the playoffs now, we can’t go to live action. That’s the only thing we weren’t able to accomplish among the things he asked us to do. But we’re trying to avoid injuries coming to the playoffs,” he said, while reiterating that despite the short practices, players still showed 100 percent effort and dedication.
“Everybody was doing hard for the limited time and we didn’t want to extend them too much.”
Baldwin is expected to return to the country this week.
As far as the resumption of practices is concerned, Uichico said it will depend on which teams will make the playoffs.
“We’ll get them as soon as possible,” he said.
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