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Chot Reyes underscores importance of tune-up games for Gilas’ World Cup bid

Photo by Tristan Tamayo/INQUIRER.net

While Chot Reyes is optimistic with the Philippines’ chances in the of the FIBA World Cup, he couldn’t stress enough the importance of preparation.

Gilas Pilipinas has over five months to gear up the squad and Reyes hopes that the current iteration of the National team could be afforded with an opportunity to generate edge—just like what his squad had nearly five years ago.

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Speaking to reporters during the PBA’s lull on Wednesday night, Reyes recalled Gilas’ participation in a couple of tuneup games that helped them prepare for the prestigious global contest.

READ: Chot Reyes likes Gilas’ chances in 2019World Cup: ‘We have proven we can compete’

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“[Those games] really toughened us up,” he said. “That was a big factor and hopefully coach Yeng (Guiao’s) team gets a chance as well,” he added.

Gilas played Ukraine, Australia, France, Venezuela and Dominican Republic in a battery of friendlies to prepare for the 2014 edition of the games in Seville, Spain.

Coming into Group B play as overwhelming underdogs, the Philippines played Greece, and then put up valiant stands against Croatia, Argentina and Puerto Rico. They finally eked out a victory—their only one in the campaign—versus Senegal.

“We kept on losing. But at least we tried to level with them,” Reyes said in Filipino. “Our players felt that they were improving and getting stronger as we progressed. And I think that feeling spilled over into the World Cup.”

READ: Chot Reyes steps down as PH men’s basketball team coach 

“When they got into the actual games, the players had a very good feeling about themselves,” he added.

Earlier this month, the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) said that Gilas will be skipping the Jones Cup—a perennial training ground for the country for years—due to conflicts in schedule. But the federation said they are looking to compensate by hosting pocket tournaments.

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“I know there are some challenges with the schedule but with the [league] throwing its all-out support? I think it’s [going to be] important,” Reyes said.

Reyes said it is imperative for Gilas to generate something similar as it could help with the players’ headspace.

“They should have a good feeling about themselves that they can compete with anybody,” he said.

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TAGS: Fiba World Cup 2019, Gilas Pilipinas, Sports
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