Gilas aims for ‘positive experience’ as team heads for Iran
Despite the limited preparation time, coach Josh Reyes said that the coaching staff and the players did all what it could do to prepare the national team for the 2016 Fiba Asia Challenge.
“We’re as prepared as can be, as we can possibly be,” he said. “Ideally, we could have more time, we could have hopefully more games against teams internationally, but we don’t have that. So having said that, rather than dwelling on the stuff that we don’t have, the time that we didn’t have, the trips and the tune-up games or the camp that we didn’t have, we just want to focus on how all of these players prepared with short notice.”
The team wrapped up its preparations on Monday night, beating an SCTEX team comprised of reserves from NLEX, 106-83, at Meralco Gym.
They are bound to fly for Tehran on Tuesday night for the continental tournament set from September 9 to 18.
‘Brave young men’
Though a lot of things didn’t work their way, Reyes was happy with the attitude the players showed throughout the training camp.
“These guys really gave all their effort,” he said. “Some are coming out of the D-League championship, some had practices in the morning, but they came in for Gilas practice in the evening ready to work hard. They never missed practice, they were never late. We have brave young men who readily answered the call when the country needed them. They had to really sacrifice a lot, they were all game and willing to do whatever it takes to prepare as best as we could. I’m really impressed with our guys.”
Parading an all-amateur squad, Reyes knows that the Philippines will be heavy underdogs in this competition.
But with the “good attitude players” he has in his team, it won’t be a surprise if the squad can spring up a few upsets here and there against fancied competition.
“The realistic goal is to compete, and that means every possession in the tournament, we’ll do our best, we focus and execute our game plan whether it’s offensively and defensively. By doing that, that’s how we’ll gain positive experience,” he said.
“That’s what we want to get – positive experience. Positive experience by fighting hard every possession, competing, focusing on the game plan. We don’t want to get negative experience. Just because people say we’re a weaker team, we don’t want to develop bad habits by just thinking, ‘Ok lang, lalaro lang kami doon kahit anong mangyari.’ Ayaw natin noon. We want everything to be positive.”
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