MANILA, Philippines – The Gilas Pilipinas Youth team will prepare as well as they can for the upcoming FIBA Under-19 World Cup, but they still remain the underdogs in their group.
The youth team, bannered by Kai Sotto and AJ Edu, was drawn in Group C along with Argentina, host country Greece, and Russia. All three countries are ranked higher than the Philippines, as of December 2018.
"'Yung chances natin, you always want to think positive," said Andrew Teh, the team manager of Gilas Youth, during the Philippine Sportswriters Association (PSA) Forum on Tuesday.
"We are preparing hard and preparing for it. That's why we're doing the training camp and tune-up games against bigger, taller teams," he added.
Yet Teh also pointed out that Gilas Youth, ranked 30th by FIBA, are in a "very competitive group." Argentina is ranked 9th in the world, host Greece is 15th, and Russia is 19th.
"Matataas ang world ranking nila," he said. "Our coaches naman, they're doing their job in analyzing and evaluating these teams. They keep on updating our boys on how to prepare them."
"We're just going to take it one game at a time," Teh added. "Hopefully, we can snatch a win or two."
The good news for the Gilas Pilipinas Youth is that all four teams in the group will advance to the knockout round, though they are hoping for a good seeding in order to avoid some of the stronger teams in the round of 16.
The squad is set to leave for Doha, Qatar for a training camp on Friday night. There, they will play two tune-up games with the Al Rayyan Club, while also welcoming point guard Dalph Panopio who will join the team from Rome.
"The training camp will be all about chemistry and camaraderie," said Teh.
From there, they will proceed to Greece on June 27, and play their first game against the host nation on June 29.
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