MANILA, Philippines – National team head coach Yeng Guiao has already submitted a proposal to the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) regarding Gilas Pilipinas' preparations for the upcoming FIBA Basketball World Cup.
More than anything, Guiao is hoping to get an early start in their practices, as well as schedule some tune-up games with teams that play in a similar style to their World Cup opponents in Group D.
With this in mind, Guiao has already been holding informal talks with SBP president Al Panlilio, and PBA commissioner Willie Marcial.
"We're all coordinating our efforts for the preparations of the Gilas team for the World Cup," Guiao said Tuesday, during the PSA Forum at the Amelie Hotel. "Medyo maraming mga obstacles na kailangan pagdaanan – mainly, trying to synchronize 'yung training at 'yung schedule ng PBA."
"Today, nag-submit po ako ng very simple proposal to the SBP, and then the SBP will now relay that proposal formally to the commissioner, so that it can be taken up sa PBA Board," he added.
During the FIBA World Cup Asian qualifiers, members of the national team pool practiced once a week before being pulled out of their mother teams for daily training sessions with some 10 or 12 days to go before the competition windows.
This, however, will not be enough for the World Cup, Guiao stressed.
"I think we will need more than a 10- or a 12-day break for the World Cup," he said. "That is for sure."
"I'm asking for more than a 12-day, continuous, daily practice. Kung pwede nga, isang buwan muna," he added. "Pero bago 'yung isang buwan na 'yun, if we can start maybe by mid-June na twice a week (practices)."
They can keep holding twice-a-week practices in July, then start daily practices in August, said Guiao. Apart from that, they are also looking to schedule friendlies and tune-ups for Gilas Pilipinas.
"I think the ideal would be five to six games na makalaban namin 'yung mga teams that are approximate to the teams that we play in our group," said the coach.
Gilas Pilipinas is grouped with Angola, Italy, and Serbia in Group D, with their games to be held in Foshan.
Guiao said that as early as now, they are getting invitations for tune-up games from other teams that also qualified to the World Cup. It is just a matter of working out the team's schedule with the PBA, especially with the season still ongoing.
"'Yun lang muna siguro ang basic plan. Early preparation, and then, to me the important thing would be the tune-up and friendlies with the type of teams we will play," he stressed.
"Gusto ko, maka-practice natin mga European teams, mga malalaki, mga mabibilis. Kasi 'yun din naman ang makakalaban natin eh," he added.
Marcial, who was also in attendance in the PSA Forum, said that the league remains in full support of the national team.
They plan to discuss Guiao's proposal on Thursday, during the PBA Board's next meeting.
"All out support po ang team owners and governors," Marcial promised. "Kahit ako, pwede maglaro (for Coach Yeng)."
Gilas opens its World Cup campaign on August 31 against Italy, then play powerhouse Serbia on September 2 before wrapping up the group stage on September 4 against Angola.
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