MANILA, Philippines – Gilas Pilipinas coach Chot Reyes will use the FIBA Asia Cup in Wuhan, China as a warm up to re-orient the team back to international competition.
Reyes admitted that he isn’t expecting much from the Asia Cup since Gilas won’t be fielding a full team as some of its key players are still competing in the ongoing PBA Governors’ Cup.
The Asia Cup will begin on Friday.
“By the time we play we would have only nine or 10 practices and as we know we don’t have a full team kasi siyempre hindi naman natin maisasama lahat ng nasa finals,” the coach said.
But Reyes stressed that the tournament will help Gilas, composed mostly of PBA players, to get back into the groove of international competition after playing three conferences in the PBA.
This, he added, will be important for their preparations for bigger tournaments such as the FIBA World Cup and the Asian Games later this year.
“But more than that, it's about coming back to the grind of the international games. ‘Yun ang kailangan from the mental and emotional stand point ng players,” said Reyes, noting that the players will have to get used to the pace of international games, “which is completely different rhythm that what we're having in the PBA.”
“In the PBA we have one, two days’ rest. Sa international wala eh. It's almost like a do-or-die game every night,” explained Reyes.
Named to the Gilas squad that will see action in Wuhan are Marcus Douthit, Ranidel De Ocampo, LA Tenorio, Gary David, Japeth Aguilar, June Mar Fajardo, Beau Belga, Paul Lee, Jared Dillinger, Jay Washington, Kevin Alas and Garvo Lanete.
Douthit, De Ocampo, Tenorio, David, Aguilar and Fajardo are all part of the Gilas squad that won second in the 2013 FIBA Asia Championship, while Lee, Dillinger and Washington are the latest additions to the national pool.
Kevin Alas and Garvo Lanete are part of the Gilas collegiate cadets that made it into the lineup.
“I like the idea that we have cadets, our younger guys coming in, Garvo Lanete and Kevin Alas. And we really want to look at Jay Washington Paul Lee and Beau Belga in actual competition,” said Reyes.
The FIBA Asia Cup will have 10 participants, with Gilas bracketed in Group B with Chinese Taipei, Jordan, Singapore and Uzbekistan.
The top four teams from the two groups will advance to the playoffs and the two emerging teams who will survive the knockout format will fight it out for the title.
The winner of the Asia Cup will get a qualification for the FIBA Asia Championship in 2015.