MANILA -- After the fiasco over the cancelled scrimmage with NBA stars a few days ago, Gilas Pilipinas is back to business as they embark on their last leg of preparations for the FIBA Basketball World Cup in Spain in September.
Early Friday morning, Gilas players left Manila for Miami to train there until August 4.
Miami was specifically chosen to accommodate the wishes of newly acquired naturalized player Andre Blatche, who resides in Miami during the NBA offseason.
While in Miami, Coach Chot Reyes shared he will make an effort to invite Fil-Am Coach Erik Spoelstra to drop by some of their practices and add some of his wisdom and knowledge to the team's preparations.
Also rumored to be invited to Florida is former Philippine Team reinforcement Chip Engelland, who is currently an assistant coach in San Antonio and is hailed as one of the best shooting coaches in the NBA.
Reyes said it would be a great blessing to have “Coach Spo” drop by. Several players also look forward to the possibility of the 2-time NBA champion helping them prepare for their biggest tournament of their careers.
Gilas Pilipinas' Gary David said he is looking forward to train under Spoelstra.
"S'yempre excited kami 'di ba, NBA champion coach. Tinuruan nya yung mga great players so excited kami na mabigyan kami ng tip ni Coach Spo," said David.
Meanwhile, talk is hot on social media that many Gilas fans want Paul Lee to make the final line-up, all the more now that there is an opening with Larry Fonacier pulling out due to injury.
Most of the players welcome the chance for Lee to make the final line-up, but no matter who makes the final line-up, they say they'll give their best for the country.
Reyes added he is still nowhere near figuring out his final line-up. He looks forward to the most intensive training sessions in Miami before heading to Europe where they have a series of tune-up games before ultimately making his decision on the line-up as they head to Spain.
Meanwhile, members of Gilas Pilipinas asked for continued prayers and support for their bid in the FIBA Worlds and the Asian games.
"We appreciate all your support, continue praying for us to stay healthy to stay strong and stay united as a team and as a country as we move forward towards the World Cup in Spain," said Gabe Norwood.
"Sa lahat ng mga Pilipino na walang sawang sumusuporta, sana ipagpatuloy nyo kaming suportahan at ipagdasal sa mga pinagdadaanan namin," said LA Tenorio.
"Hindi po ito madali pero nangangako kami na gagawin namin ang lahat ng makakaya namin. Sana magawa lahat ng dapat naming gawin at ang expectation ng Pilipinas sa amin."