MANILA, Philippines -- The Philippine men's national basketball team will intensify its preparations for the upcoming Southeast Asian Games next week.
Coach Tim Cone announced on Monday evening that Gilas Pilipinas will have tune-up games against Alab Pilipinas on November 4th and 11th, and another tune-up game against a team from Taiwan on November 18.
"It's going to be a close game. In other words, we’re not gonna allow crowd or fans or press until after the game is over," said Cone.
"We're trying to keep our ranks tight. We know that people are out there scouting on us," he explained. "And we also wanna just have total focus."
The practice games will be crucial, said Cone, and they don't want to worry about "trying to look good" for fans or media.
"We wanna come in and do the work. So that’s why we’re closing that game out," he said.
Cone made it clear that the Gilas players' minutes will be managed, as they are still in the midst of the PBA Governors' Cup. Ginebra, Alaska, and NorthPort will all play on November 3rd, meaning 8 members of the pool will be competing in back-to-back games.
"But we gotta remember, we're only playing a 40-minute game," Cone also said. "It's not a 48-PBA game, it’s a 40-minute FIBA game."
"So, not as many minutes to go around," he added. "We're gonna try and get everybody out there and give them a feel. That’s why we’re playing more than one practice game."
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