Gilas Pilipinas head coach Yeng Guiao is “not expecting too much” in his national team’s first organized tune-up game against Filipino club team Mighty Sports on Monday, saying his players’ attention are still divided between Gilas and the on-going PBA Commissioner’s Cup.
“I am not expecting too much because we are just walking through our plays. The players are still focused on their mother teams (too). That’s really a big obstacle for now,” admitted Guiao, whose nationals have been training for the past two weeks in preparation for the upcoming 2019 FIBA Basketball World Cup.
With the on-going PBA Commissioner’s Cup expected to go on until the 1st week of August, Gilas members will have about less than a month of full-time preparations.
The World Cup tips off on August 31 in China. Gilas is in Group D with Italy, Serbia, and Angola.
“We have to start from the beginning every time we practice kasi may darating na bago, may a-absent. Kumbaga we have to learn how to read and write every time so hindi pa kami maka-advance masyado sa aming mga sessions,” bared Guiao.
The upcoming tune-up match against Mighty Sports will be a good test for the national team, as the club is bannered by 5 imports: Renaldo Balkman, Eugene Phelps, Hamady N’Diaye, Zach Graham, and McKenzie Moore.
No less than pioneering Gilas head coach Rajko Toroman is mentoring Mighty Sports, who are trying to win the Jones Cup in Taiwan.
Adjusting to the nature of the situation, Guiao will bank on the familiarity of his players, as he will now go with his current pool from now on in determining the final 12 for the World Cup.
“Majority of this team having played in the last window, we will try to draw from that experience,” said Guiao.
“I still want to see them play in a hard game against a strong team. I still want to see them play. Pero wala akong masyadong ine-expect kasi nga yung practices namin, we really just walk through on what happens.”
Included in the Gilas roster are Gabe Norwood, June Mar Fajardo, Marcio Lassiter, Troy Rosario, Paul Lee, Raymond Almazan, Japeth Aguilar, Kiefer Ravena, CJ Perez, Robert Bolick, and Matthew Wright. Beau Belga and Stanley Pringle serve as practice players while Andray Blatche is expected to join later in July.
Scottie Thompson, Ray Parks Jr., and Jayson Castro all begged off from the Gilas pool.