Baldwin said pool needs to get mentally tougher
There will be a heavy focus on improving the team’s mental toughness when Gilas Pilipinas returns to training in preparation for the Fiba (International Basketball Federation) Asia Cup this August.
That was one of the lessons sponged up by the team in the recent Olympic Qualifying Tournament in Serbia, where the Philippines missed a Tokyo Olympics berth. The Filipinos made hopes surface of a long-shot Olympic appearance when it fared creditably in a loss to host Serbia, the world No. 5. But things came completely apart in an ugly loss to the Dominican Republic.
“I told the team after the game that this wasn’t necessarily a physical beating that we got; I think it was a mental beating from Dominican,” coach Tab Baldwin said after a 94-67 loss early Friday morning (Manila time). “I think our mental toughness was really questioned tonight and it’s something that we have to work on, it’s something that we have to train a little bit tougher.”
“We have to be a little bit better prepared for what some of these international teams are going to bring against you,” he added.
Baldwin said the national pool members have to understand fully that the pride and eagerness they have in representing the country isn’t exclusive.
“Everybody gets excited about the fact that we played for our country and played for our flag, sometimes I think we forget so do the other teams,” he said. “There’s an awful lot of pride in the other teams and virtually every international basketball team that plays for their country. When their pride is challenged, you should expect a very, very hard response. We got that in the second half [against the Dominican Republic]. Unfortunately, we were not up to the standard … But we will learn.”
Baldwin expects the pool to be back in a training bubble in Calamba, Laguna province, around July 20. INQ
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