The Gilas Pilipinas national basketball team has resumed its weekly training as it prepares for the final and sixth-round qualifier for the FIBA World Cup.
However, coach Chot Reyes is quick to remind everyone that the team still has a long way to go.
“We just had half of the guys since the players in Japan are not yet here and several players also had to rest,” Reyes said in a recent press conference.
Despite the absence of some players, Gilas was able to have an early appraisal of three new call-ups and reunite with its towering cornerstone, June Mar Fajardo.
Gilas Pilipinas recently added three new players, Jerom Lastimosa, Mason Amos, and Schonny Winston, to the team for the final round of the Asian qualifiers set next month. These players are all varsity standouts who bring new talents and skills to the table.
However, Coach Chot Reyes was quick to point out that it’s too early to say if any of them would make it to the final 12-man roster that will face off against Jordan or Lebanon. Despite this, Reyes was still pleased with the opportunity to observe how these players fit in with the team’s long-term plans and goals. This experience will also be beneficial for the players as they will get to showcase their skills and prove their worth to the team.
The team is currently in the process of finalizing the roster for the upcoming qualifiers, and fans are eagerly waiting to see who will make the cut.
Gilas Pilipinas is set to host the Lebanon national team on February 24 and then the Jordan national team on February 27 at the Philippine Arena. Reyes stated that Gilas intends to add more days to its preparations for the two home stands as soon as more players become available. “Around a week before the games, I think that’s the time we’d go (training) every day,” he said.
One player who is excited about the possibility of making the final lineup for the sixth window of the FIBA World Cup Asian qualifiers is Chris Newsome. “Yeah playing with him and not against him,” said Newsome of the possibility of teaming up with Ginebra’s resident import Justin Brownlee. “It’s always nice to be teammates with someone who has accomplished so much,” he added.
Newsome and Brownlee have a storied history due to their respective teams, Barangay Ginebra and Meralco, being fierce rivals. Brownlee and the Kings have consistently defeated Newsome and the Bolts in past championship matchups, with the most recent being the last Governors’ Cup Finals.
Despite their past competitive relationship, the two will now be teammates in the Gilas squad. The opportunity for them to play together on the national team is an exciting prospect for both players, as well as fans who look forward to seeing their on-court chemistry.
As the team continues to gear up for the upcoming qualifiers, fans can expect intense competition as Gilas Pilipinas aims to secure a spot in the World Cup. With the qualifiers just around the corner, the team is leaving no stone unturned in their preparations to bring glory to the Philippines in the international basketball scene.