With World Cup group set, Gilas Pilipinas gets ‘clarity’ on preparations
MANILA, Philippines–With the Philippines finally learning its groupmates in the Fiba World Cup, Gilas Pilipinas can now navigate its preparations with clarity, according to national coach Chot Reyes.
“Obviously, the next phase is to take a look at the teams we’re playing and to build the team and select the players that hopefully we think could compete with the players that we know would be on the other team,” he said shortly after the Draw Ceremony held Saturday night at Smart Araneta Coliseum in Cubao, Quezon City.
“The good thing is that now, we have some clarity on who we’re playing and what kind of preparation is necessary to be at our best come August.”
The Philippines, one of the three hosts of the global showcase, was drawn with the Dominican Republic, Italy and Angola—three nations it battled in the past.
Gilas played Italy and Angola in the 2019 World Cup held in China and lost both games. The Nationals went home without a win.
The Philippines also played Dominican Republic in the last Olympic Qualifiers held in Belgrade, Serbia, and also found the same, embarrassing results.
Reyes, who steered the Philippines into a milestone win over Senegal in the 2014 World Cup held in Seville, Spain, is aware that Gilas campaign is contingent on the quality of its preparations.
“In the end, that’s going to be determined by how well we’ll be prepared. How well we can get together, and play together, and how many quality tune-up games we can get before the actual World Cup because that’s what we were able to do in 2014, right?” he said.
“I thought we were able to put in a very good tune-up preparation schedule, so when it came—World Cup time—we were playing at a very high level. Hopefully, we can get to that level again this time,” he said.
The Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas has since said it is planning to send the National Five into two overseas camps—one in the United States and another in Europe—before it plunges into battle on Aug. 25.
Reyes said that Gilas will announce more on that by end-June.