Gilas Pilipinas preparing for SEA Games like it’s World Cup
MANILA, Philippines—The Philippines has been the overwhelming favorite in men’s basketball in the Southeast Asian Games for the longest time and it’s not going to be any different in this year’s edition.
Unlike the 2017 squad, the Philippine team in the coming SEA Games will be composed of a star-studded PBA crew but even then veteran point guard LA Tenorio believes the Nationals are by no means a lock to win the gold medal.
“I don’t think it’s a sure gold right away. We don’t think of that because we might get caught off guard and we end up stumbling if we don’t look at what’s in front of us so we’re ready for this and we have to be ready for this,” said Tenorio, one of the six Ginebra players tapped by head coach Tim Cone to be part of the 15-man Gilas Pilipinas pool for the regional meet which will be held here later in the year.
The 35-year-old Tenorio said Gilas should not take the competition in the SEA Games lightly and it all starts with the players’ mindset.
“We’re preparing for the SEA Games like we’re preparing for the World Cup. It’s the same because we’re [wearing] the Pilipinas jersey,” Tenorio told reporters after the team’s first practice Monday night at Meralco Gym.
“It’s pretty much the same how you will prepare. Doesn’t matter which team we’re going to face whether it’s Korea or Thailand or Italy, Serbia, Malaysia or Singapore. Doesn’t matter. You’re carrying the Pilipinas name and you have to prepare really hard. Nothing is guaranteed here.”
In 2017, the Philippines, led by its cadets team, had a close call against Thailand and Tenorio wants no repeat of that this time around.
“The Philippines nearly lost to Thailand the last time the two teams met sowe cannot afford to relax and think that this is like a tuneup game or scrimmage for Team Philippines so we’re gonna prepare like we’re preparing for the World Cup, Asian Games or even the Olympics so as long as we carry the Pilipinas jersey we have to prepare for that,” he said, referring to the Filipinos’ 81-74 escape thanks to Kiefer Ravena’s late-game brilliance.
“That’s what we talked about inside that we all decided and agreed on. If we do that and all of us will really have that kind of mindset then, it’s gonna be easy after.”
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