Gilas getting better chemistry, but lack of tune-up games cause for concern
Gilas Pilipinas head coach Yeng Guiao is liking what he’s seeing from his team especially the progress of Andray Blatche’s reintegration into the squad.
That, however, still won’t alleviate some of his worries with the lack of preparation time and possibly not being able to play any tune-up games before the national team’s do-or-die away games against Qatar on February 21 and Kazakhstan three days later.
“We’re getting there. We’re getting better chemistry. Andray’s getting more familiar with the plays. I think he’s very comfortable with the plays now,” Guiao told reporters after wrapping up practice for the second straight night at Meralco Gym.”
“Again, we’re trying to keep everything simple. His time is really limited here and the players’ time is limited as well because they still have to contend with the PBA scheduling,” he said.
Gilas was supposed to play Alab Pilipinas in a scrimmage Tuesday night but the exhibition was canceled the night before after Alab backed out to give their players much-needed rest after playing a game in Cebu on Sunday.
Alab, which is bannered by Puerto Rican reinforcements Renaldo Balkman and PJ Ramos, would’ve been the perfect opponent to test Gilas before they head for Doha to kickoff their campaign in the last window of the Fiba World Cup Asian qualifiers.
“I’m very concerned because can you imagine the only time you’ll see them compete is in the game itself so that’s a big concern but we couldn’t find any other solution to that problem,” said Guiao.
Blatche had just rejoined Gilas on Monday for the first time since the infamous game against Australia last July but he won’t be here for long as he is set to return to China and be back with his mother ballclub the Tianjin Gold Lions are still playing in the Chinese Basketball Association.
Guiao said Blatche’s last practice with Gilas before he leaves will most likely be on Thursday.
“So tomorrow (Wednesday) he will practice with NLEX just running the plays again and then, on Thursday, that could be his last practice with the team because again there will be PBA games on Friday, Saturday, Sunday so we just to work with those limitations.”
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