Gilas Pilipinas, the Philippine national basketball team, has returned home from its successful three-week training camp in Europe, only to embark on another journey for a five-day pocket tournament in China.
The team’s training camp in China, scheduled for August 2-6, will feature friendly matches against Iran, Lebanon, and Senegal, three teams that will also be participating in the upcoming FIBA World Cup. These matches will serve as the final stage of their rigorous training program before they enter the World Cup group stage.
The pocket tournament in China is crucial to Gilas’ preparations as they gear up for their third consecutive appearance in the quadrennial showcase.
The tournament will occur three weeks before the World Cup officially commences, which will be held simultaneously in Manila, Japan, and Indonesia.
Upon their return from Europe, Coach Chot Reyes expressed his satisfaction with the team’s progress. He praised the players’ improvements and highlighted their commendable effort in defending, diving for loose balls, and playing together as a cohesive unit.
Gilas played six games during their European tour, achieving a 3-3 record. They initially faced defeats against the host country, Estonia and Finland.
However, the team bounced back strongly in Kaunas, Lithuania, winning three out of their four games, including a notable 125-102 victory against Lithuania’s national team bound for the Summer Universiade.
The Philippine team’s first group stage game is against the Dominican Republic on August 25 at the Philippine Arena in Bocaue, Bulacan. They will also face Angola and Italy in the group stage matches, which will be held at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Coach Chot Reyes underscored the importance of staying sharp and building on the lessons learned during their European tour.
The team aims to continue their development and improvement while preparing for the challenging games in the China series, where they will face national teams once again.
There is growing anticipation that Jordan Clarkson, the talented Utah Jazz player, may bring his skills to the court as a member of the Gilas Pilipinas team in China. As a former NBA Sixth Man of the Year, Clarkson recently secured a lucrative three-year contract worth $55 million with the Jazz, which has put any uncertainties about his NBA career to rest. Given his wealth of experience in elite basketball, Clarkson’s presence would undeniably enhance the team’s capabilities when he reunites with Gilas in China.
After a few days of rest, Gilas Pilipinas will resume their practices on Thursday, fully committed to refining their skills and strategies in preparation for the upcoming tournaments.
The team aims to showcase their best performance on the world stage and make their country proud.