Gilas stays locked in despite cancellation of PH qualifiers hosting
MANILA, Philippines — The hard work continues for Gilas Pilipinas despite the country’s cancellation for its supposed staging of the Fiba Asia Cup qualifiers from Feb. 18-22.
The Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas had to beg off the hosting duties of the third and final window of the tournament due to the country’s travel ban brought about by the new COVID-19 strain.
But that didn’t prevent the 19-man Philippine team pool from getting into top form while in the middle of its bubble training camp in Calamba, Laguna.
“We will continue training until we get advice from FIBA,” said head coach Jong Uichico in a story on the PBA website.
“We will not break camp. We are continuing to practice,” said Ryan Gregorio, special assistant to SBP President Al Panlilio.
The pool, which is bolstered by six PBA players bannered by Roger Pogoy, Kiefer Ravena and CJ Perez, started training earlier this month.
Eight cadets, who were part of Gilas’ sweep of Thailand in the second window last November, led by Dwight Ramos and Juan Gomez De Liaño, are also in the bubble along with naturalized player candidate Ange Kouame.
Special Gilas draftees in twins Matt and Mike Nieto, Isaac Go and Rey Suerte are also part of the camp.
NBA prospect Kai Sotto, who plays for Ignite in the G League, is also expected to join the team
“We have to keep going to be ready when FIBA finds a host for the third window,” said Panlilio.
The Philippines, which will play fierce rival South Korea and Indonesia in the last window, is currently on top of Group A at 3-0.