Gilas Pilipinas, the national basketball team of the Philippines, is facing the daunting task of reclaiming its title in the Southeast Asian Games amid a manpower crisis and a short preparation time. To mitigate the effects of these issues, the team is currently holding a closed-door camp at the Inspire Sports Academy in Calamba, Laguna.
According to national coach Chot Reyes, the team will have to do a lot of cramming to prepare for the competition. The camp is not only for basketball practices but also for the team’s development, Reyes added.
The Philippines is determined to regain its title in the basketball competition of the biennial meet after being dethroned by Indonesia in the Hanoi edition almost a year ago.
However, the team’s campaign is causing worries, with several marquee names stricken off the list from which the final roster will be built.
Jamie Malonzo, Mikey Williams, and June Mar Fajardo, among others, will not join the team due to personal reasons and injuries.
Reyes explained that the team is not taking risks with Fajardo, who is still recovering from a knee injury. Meanwhile, Malonzo and Williams have had to withdraw due to personal reasons.
Additionally, Scottie Thompson, the reigning PBA Most Valuable Player, is unlikely to join the team as he awaits the birth of his first child.
Reyes acknowledged that the team’s preparation would be challenging due to the absence of these key players.
“These guys are going to be playing for the first time, so we’re gonna have to do a lot of team development activities to build cohesion and synergy required to win in the Southeast Asian Games,” the veteran coach Reyes informed the reporters about the rigorous training camp that will continue until the team departs for Phnom Penh on May 6.
The Inspire Sports Academy has been a familiar venue for Gilas Pilipinas, having hosted several training camps when Tab Baldwin was coaching the team.
During its preparation for the 2020 PBA Philippine Cup bubble tournament, TNT also conducted a training camp at the Calamba facility.
The Philippines is set to compete against Malaysia, Vietnam, and Myanmar in the preliminary stage of the competition, scheduled to commence on May 9. The team will have to work hard to reclaim its lofty place in the biennial meet’s basketball competition, given the manpower crisis and short preparation time.
Despite the challenges, the team remains optimistic about its chances of winning. The Gilas Pilipinas program has been successful in the past, and the team has a rich history of winning in international competitions.
The current situation presents significant challenges for Gilas Pilipinas, but the team’s coaching staff and players remain optimistic about their chances of winning. The team’s training camp is crucial for preparing the players physically and mentally for the games.
With hard work, determination, and a bit of luck, Gilas Pilipinas can bring home the gold medal and make the nation proud.