Gilas out to gain experience vs tough field in Fiba Asia Cup
Coach Josh Reyes tempered everyone’s expectations from the Philippine team which will wage war in the 2016 Fiba Asia Challenge in Tehran, Iran.
“I think it’s unfair to expect a lot from these kids,” he said. “We are asking them to sacrifice and battle for us. Isasabak natin sila with these Fiba giants and to accompany that with huge expectations is unfair for them.”
The Gilas cadets, who have opted not to field a naturalize player, will parade a roster entirely made up of amateur level standouts but will be without two key players in Kiefer Ravena and Ray Parks.
But despite the clear disadvantage, Reyes expects the team to still go all out.
“Of course, all of us are going into the tournament to win, but at the same time, we know that the most important thing is the experience and them learning to play at this level,” he said.
It won’t be a cruise for the Philippines advancing in the group stages after being slotted with Chinese Taipei and India in Group B. And it wouldn’t get any easier after that as all three teams will merge with Group A for the second round, where China, Jordan, and Kazakhstan awaits
Only the top four teams advance to the crossover playoffs.
Reyes welcomes the challenge, saying “there’s no easy group naman.”
“If you look at all the teams, there’s really no easy grouping. We’ll just try our best to compete with these men kasi mga mama na ang mga kalaban natin eh.”
The final 12-man roster will be released on August 25, before the team flies for Tehran, Iran on September 6.
“Hopefully, we can sneak a few wins here and there. But really, these kids need a lot of experience and that’s what’s these games are for,” said Reyes.
Gilas took home a bronze medal in Wuhan back in 2014 after Paul Lee canned his three free throws to down host China.