SANDY Arespacochaga is expecting a near-full squad a little over a week before the Gilas Pilipinas Youth team goes to Doha in preparation for the 2019 Fiba Under-19 World Cup.
Carl Tamayo, Gerry Abadiano and Terrence Fortea are set to finally join the team on Wednesday as the national youth team gets to near-full strength.
"We expect them to be back," the coach said of Nazareth School of National University trio, who spent the past week in the Nike All-Asia Camp in China.
The three will hit the ground running with fellow under-19 pool members, headlined by twin towers Kai Sotto and AJ Edu 18 days before the global youth tournament in Heraklion, Greece.
Fil-Italian Dalph Panopio will join the Gilas Youth crew in Qatar. The team leaves the Philippines for Doha on June 21.
Present for Tuesday’s practice were the formidable frontline of Sotto and Edu, together with Dave Ildefonso, Rhayyan Amsali, Geo Chiu, Bismarck Lina, James Spencer, Migs Oczon, Xyrus Torres and Joshua Ramirez.
Under-17 pool members Steve Nash Enriquez, Harold Alarcon, Aaron Buensalida, Renzo Abrica, Jynno Ladimo, Joshua Cajucom, Jacob Cortez and Kenji Canete also gave a hand for the evening practice.
Arespacochaga is pleased with the progress as they gear up for a tough task in Group C against Argentina, Russia and host Greece.
"We feel the pressure to prepare well against our opponents because we've got strong opponents. In a way, that's good because it forces us to have excellent practices and that pushes us to do better each time in practice," he said.
"That's a good kind of pressure that hopefully, will help these guys get to the next level in terms of them playing individually and also together as a team."