MANILA -- Gilas Pilipinas has moved camp to Inspire Sports Academy as it enters the most crucial phase of its preparation for the Asian Games in Hangzhou, China.
National team coach Tim Cone and the rest of the Philippine squad entered training camp inside the National University campus in Laguna Saturday morning and went to work right away in the afternoon.
Veterans Terrence Romeo and June Mar Fajardo were among the "early birds" at the Inspire Sports Academy in Calamba.
Romeo, who last played for Gilas in 2018, will be finally making his return to the national team after being one of the crowd favorites since joining the squad in 2015.
He won two silver medals for Gilas, one during the 2015 FIBA Asia Championships in China, and the other during the William Jones Cup that same year.
Meanwhile, Fajardo is returning to don the Philippines' Blue and White right after his 2023 FIBA Basketball World Cup campaign.
The 6-foot-10, six-time PBA MVP posted 6.6 points and 5.0 rebounds in five games with Gilas while banging bodies against the likes of Karl Anthony-Towns and the other top international big men of the tournament.
Cone planned holding twice-a-day, closed-door practice to help the Gilas players learn his system with only seven days remaining before the Games kick off on Sept. 23.
"We're gonna be foundational, we're gonna be fundamental and get to whatever level we can get to by doing it the right way," said Cone.
Gilas will get to play against the Meralco Bolts in a closed-door tune up game at Inspire.
This will be followed by another tuneup against the Changwon LG Sakers at the Philsports Arena a day before the nationals fly to China.
"We really don't have pretty much time to play a lot of friendly games. To me the practices are more important than the friendlies because we learn more in practices," Cone said.
Gilas will play its first game against Bahrain on Sept. 26. -- With a report from Rom Anzures, ABS-CBN News.