Gilas Pilipinas, the Philippine national basketball team, wasted no time getting to work as soon as they arrived in Estonia after a grueling 22-hour journey.
Despite the exhaustion from their long trip from Manila to Tallinn, the team immediately held a light workout at the Nord Spordiklubi Complex before dinner. This workout was a crucial preparation for the upcoming FIBA World Cup.
The team’s strength and conditioning coach, Dexter Aseron, led the evening session, emphasizing the importance of proper nutrition, hydration, stretching, and rest for the players’ overall well-being. Aseron stressed that injury prevention requires a holistic approach, which includes focusing on sleep, diet, strength training, and recovery techniques.
Gilas Pilipinas is in the early stages of a three-week European training camp for the highly anticipated World Cup. During this camp, they will face national teams from Estonia and Finland, along with Lithuania’s under-21 team. These matches aim to fine-tune their skills and build team chemistry rather than solely focusing on winning.
The training pool in Estonia consists of a 12-man roster, including notable players like June Mar Fajardo, Japeth Aguilar, CJ Perez, and Kiefer Ravena. Additionally, the team is expecting the arrival of naturalized players Justin Brownlee and Ange Kouame to strengthen their lineup.
However, Gilas Pilipinas is facing some manpower challenges due to injuries and other commitments. Several key players, such as Roger Pogoy, Calvin Oftana, Bobby Ray Parks, and Jordan Heading could not join the trip due to injuries. Furthermore, Jordan Clarkson is in the United States, and Kai Sotto will play in the NBA Summer League for the Orlando Magic.
To address these challenges, Gilas Pilipinas is exploring the possibility of adding players from the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) to their World Cup pool. PBA Commissioner Willie Marcial expressed his willingness to lend players to the national team, ensuring they have enough personnel to overcome any potential setbacks.
Upon their return from Europe, Marcial and head coach Chot Reyes will discuss augmenting the roster and finalizing the 12-man lineup for the World Cup. The Philippines will face tough competition, including Italy, Dominican Republic, and Angola in the group stage.
Despite the obstacles they face, Gilas Pilipinas remains determined and focused on their goal of securing a spot in the Olympics for the first time since 1972. The team understands the importance of the European training camp and is fully committed to their World Cup journey. With hard work, dedication, and the support of the PBA, they aim to make their country proud on the international basketball stage.
As they continue their preparations, the team also recognizes the significance of maintaining the players’ health and well-being. Coach Aseron emphasizes the importance of proper nutrition, hydration, and rest for injury prevention. The players themselves are taking responsibility for their bodies, understanding the demands of the rigorous training ahead.
With the possibility of PBA players joining the World Cup pool, Gilas Pilipinas can strengthen their roster and ensure they have the necessary manpower to face formidable opponents. Commissioner Marcial’s willingness to support the national team reflects the unity within Philippine basketball, where various stakeholders come together to pursue success on the international stage.