MANILA, Philippines – Since Gilas Pilipinas will be facing a challenging mix of European, South American and African teams in the FIBA Basketball World Cup, coach Chot Reyes is making sure the team will get inputs from experts who are familiar with the foreign style of play.
Before leaving for Miami, the Gilas coach told reporters that he will be tapping the services of Thomas "Tab" Baldwin, who used to coach for Lebanon and Jordan, and another expert, who is familiar in African basketball.
“Tab Baldwin has been to three world championships and one Olympics. So he's very familiar with those players,” Reyes said.
Reyes added that he also approached several other coaches who could help the Filipino squad prepare against the teams in its FIBA World Cup grouping.
Gilas is clustered with Senegal, Puerto Rico, Argentina, Greece and Croatia in Group B, which is considered one of the toughest in the FIBA Worlds.
“I made sure that I have ample European, African, and South American help in this competition,” said Reyes. “Hindi naman ako mahihiyang humingi ng tulong. Pinuntahan ko ang mga coaches na ito at humingi ako ng tulong.”
“Tab Baldwin will join us in Miami, and there's another coach that we've asked who's an expert in African basketball,” he said.
Gilas is currently training in Miami with naturalized NBA player Andray Blatche, who will be beefing up the squad for the FIBA World and the Asian Games.
Reyes said he wants the pool to play at least nine games with the Brooklyn Nets power forward so that they will be familiar with each other by the time they head to Spain.
“I don't want to go to the Worlds without being able to play with Andray Blatche for at least eight or nine games. So it's really a choice na medyo pagod ka or sunog ka, or ‘di naman kayo magkakakilala,” he said.