Baldwin wants Gilas to play like it's not guaranteed a World Cup spot | Inquirer Sports
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Baldwin wants Gilas to play like it’s not guaranteed a World Cup spot

By: - Reporter / @MarkGiongcoINQ
/ 03:47 PM September 01, 2021
Gilas coach Tab Baldwin talking to his players during a time out.

FILE – Gilas coach Tab Baldwin talks to his players during a timeout. Photo from Fiba

MANILA, Philipines–Gilas Pilipinas won’t be taking it easy when it competes in the 2023 Fiba World Cup Qualifiers despite already being assured of a spot in the global showcase.

National team coach Tab Baldwin said Gilas has to play with a mindset that nothing’s guaranteed and prove it rightfully deserves its spot in the World Cup.

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“It’s gonna be a tough group but I’m positive and encouraged by the fact that I think we can do well and then enter the second phase with some success and earn our right instead of being gifted the right to the World Cup,” Baldwin said.

“Earn our right and I think that would be best for the players’ mentality as well.”

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The Philippines secured an outright slot in the World Cup as one of the three hosts.

Gilas was drawn in Group A with New Zealand, South Korea and India.

Baldwin described Gilas’ matchup with longtime rival Korea as “more than just a game.”

“First thing that came in to my mind was Korea again. Knowing that it’s gonna be it’s more than just a game. We have to play them twice again and there’s gonna be some feelings in that because of the last game,” Baldwin said on the draw held Tuesday.

The Philippines stunned Korea, 81-78, at the buzzer when the two teams first met in the Fiba Asia Cup qualifiers in June. The Filipinos beat the Koreans again, 82-77, to sweep the tournament.

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TAGS: 2023 Fiba World Cup Qualifiers, Gilas Pilipinas
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