Gilas Pilipinas will play a tune-up game with China after a successful stint in the FIBA Asia Cup Qualifiers.
The nationals got three wins--two against South Korea and one against Indonesia--but will need some preparation before flying to Belgrade for the FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament.
“Our plans before that are to have practices here before we fly out. And we are very hopeful to have a practice game versus China, who are staying here before they head to Canada for more preparations for themselves,” Baldwin said right after their 82-77 victory over South Korea on Sunday.
The Gilas coach said he will be giving the players a day off before meeting China.
“So we still have a lot of work to do. But I think these young men deserve a day off and they will get Monday off. Tuesday we will be back at work,” said Baldwin.
Baldwin admitted that despite their impressive outing in the FIBA Asia Cup Qualifiers, Gilas has a tough task ahead in the FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament in Belgrade.
There, the Philippines will be forced to square off against host Serbia, ranked No. 5 in the world, and the Dominican Republic, ranked No. 19, in the group stage.
"We can't get ahead of ourselves. This is a good start but we have to stay focused again, going back to that theme of improvement," said Baldwin.
Coach Rajko (Toroman) would know better than anybody else what we're going to go up in Serbia I think he's a hundred percent right. In Serbia, we're gonna be playing Serbian national team that's trying to make it to the Olympics, at home."
"I suspect they'll be waiting for us. I don't think our results here are gonna help us too much when we get there."
Former Gilas coach Toroman has already said Gilas will have an uphill battle against more experienced squads like Serbia.
"Don't expect some miracle in Serbia from them because they are not experienced," said the Serbian tactician.
"Great teams like Serbia and Dominican Republic are more experienced."