Gilas program picking up lessons from the past, says Erika Dy
NATIONAL TEAM

Gilas program picking up lessons from the past, says Erika Dy

/ 05:10 AM February 01, 2024

Fiba World Cup Erika Dy

Fiba World Cup deputy event director Erika Dy. –MARLO CUETO/INQUIRER.net

Gilas Pilipinas national basketball program’s road map for the next World Cup and Olympics cycle will be steeped in nostalgia.

Erika Dy, the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas’ (SBP) newly appointed executive director, said that the national federation picked the best practices from across eras of previous national coaches to determine the best course of action for the next four years.

“We looked back at everything we tried to do before,” she told the Inquirer on the sidelines of the Manila Hustle 3×3 kickoff presser on Tuesday.

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“If you remember with coach Norman (Black), we did a pool that stuck together for three years. We also had coach Chot (Reyes’) style where he’s got players from the [PBA] and weren’t pulled out until closer to the tournaments, training for a month or two and the league would stop,” said Dy, a former coach herself.

“[Then] there’s coach Tab (Baldwin’s) style, where he got all amateurs, put them together and, just like coach Norman’s style, played as one team throughout,” she went on. “Now, we’re going for a more sustainable [method]. We get our best and keep them together for four years.”

Tim Cone, the architect behind the Gilas Pilipinas’ reclamation of the Asian Games basketball gold was officially named as Reyes’ successor on Monday night, taking on the role on a permanent basis.

Cone’s 12

Gilas Pilipinas Tim Cone

Gilas Pilipinas coach Tim Cone during the team’s opening training with the Gilas Women’s team on Thursday at Philsports Arena. –MARLO CUETO/INQUIRER.net

He has identified June Mar Fajardo, CJ Perez, Scottie Thompson, Jamie Malonzo, Calvin Oftana, Chris Newsome, young Japan-based standouts Dwight Ramos, Kai Sotto, AJ Edu, free agent Carl Tamayo, varsity star Kevin Quiambao and naturalized ace Justin Brownlee as his dozen for marquee international tournaments leading up to the next World Cup that will be held in Qatar, and, hopefully the Summer Olympic Games in Los Angeles.

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Dy said Cone intends to have the new edition of Gilas train for just around seven days before this year’s Fiba Asia Cup qualification windows, and about two weeks before plunging into the Olympic Qualifying Tournament. Such an approach will keep the Gilas from being disruptive of the players’ respective leagues, and at the same time follow the model being used by other national teams around the world.

“It all accumulates—the time that they’ll spend together. If you add all those up, over the course of four years when we go to the World Cup, which is what we’re really preparing for, then you’ll have a team that jells very well even if they’re playing for their mother teams. And that’s what we’re trying [to do],” said Dy.

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Cone has since pointed out that the goal is to keep stacking up experiences in between tournaments. In an exhaustive chat with reporters on Monday, the decorated PBA coach said that what the country now has is a squad replete with players now already performing at a high level, and are going to be better over time.

“You know, [this is] an experienced group. They played on a really high level. We’re not going to ask for a lot of lengthy preparation time. We feel like each window will prepare us for the next window, which will prepare us for the next window,” he said.

Seven of the 12 players are holdovers from the golden Asian Games run in Hangzhou, China. Ramos, Sotto and Edu, meanwhile, all played for Cone and Reyes in the World Cup before that. Tamayo last played for a champion team in Japan, while Quiambao is coming off a UAAP title romp.

“The idea is over three or four years, we should have been doing all these windows together and keeping the continuity going and having the same system with the same players. And they get to know each other better and better and better that they’ll reach their full potential after three or four years,” Cone said.

Speed bumps

“It’s kind of like a PBA team if you think about it. Like a PBA, an NBA (National Basketball Association), a B.League team—or any kind of basketball team where you keep a team together as much as you can and you try to get it to learn through its failures and successes,” he added.

Dy knows that there will be speed bumps along the way. And she assured that the SBP is also making sure that it is ready to smoothen those gaps in the campaign as soon as they show.

“The SBP has programs in parallel to make sure that we continue to fill our elite levels with talent. I’m working closely with coach Norman Black on our grassroots programs—these are our 14-under, 16-under, 18-under—identifying talent at an early age so we could put them in a pathway towards the national team,” she said.

“There will be issues of familiarity,” Dy said of the Gilas’ wave of practices, which the Inquirer learned has been set to begin on Feb. 15.

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“But I’m confident. Those selected are true professionals. It’ll be easy for them to come together as a team. They’re going to pick things up easily that they’ll just need a week for the [Fiba] windows. They’re professionals and that’s what we’re banking on.”

TAGS: Gilas Pilipinas

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