WHAT does a day in Gilas Pilipinas training camp at Inspire Sports Academy in Calamba look like?
Take it from Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) program director Tab Baldwin: it's no joke.
"Most days in a week, we practice two times," he shared to The Game.
Baldwin explained that the players wake up at around 7 a.m. to 7:30 a.m., taking their breakfast at around 8 a.m. and making their pre-practice preparations before the coaches meet them at the gym at 8:45 a.m. Then, the morning practice begins at 9 a.m. and lasts until 11:30 a.m.
After which, the whole team goes to lunch, then the players go back to their rooms.
While the players rest, the coaches go to work and discuss the things they worked on during the morning session for at least an hour and a half to two hours before they take their break at 3:30 p.m.
"We'll review all the videos from the morning practice and we splice the videos, discuss what we liked," said Baldwin.
Well-rested, the team meets again at 6 p.m. for a film session before returning for the evening session from 7 p.m. to as late as 9:30 p.m., before they retreat to the hostel and eat dinner.
It's another round of coaches' meetings, which lasts at around 11 p.m. and could go on as late as 12 a.m. before they take a good night's sleep and prepare for another training day.
Still, with this being the youngest Gilas pool, a big bunch of these players still has academic needs to fulfill -- one that Baldwin and the rest of the coaches are stern on putting premium on over their responsibilities with the national team.
"We work around it," he said, pointing out that they expect the players to still attend their online classes. "We don't ask any players to miss any academic sessions. In fact, we demand the players to attend their academic sessions."
Some players have their classes and academic obligations in the morning, forcing the Gilas coaches to seperate the pool into two groups for its morning practices according to their schedules.
Baldwin even shared an instance last Sunday where he was left with no choice to allow five of his players sit out the trainings.
"Even in a situation like this Sunday morning practice where we thought we'll have everybody, I had five players who told me they had academic requirements due on Monday and they're a little bit behind cause of the training and schedule and asked to have the morning training off," he said.
"And the answer has to be yes. Much as I dislike it to tell the players do your work in advance more and spend your time with academics, this is the situation we're in."
Nevertheless, Baldwin still feels fortunate to have this opportunity to train with the youthful Gilas pool given the current circumstances as the SBP prepares for the upcoming competitions later this year.
"It makes it a little bit tougher, but we're training and a lot of other people in the world aren't right now," he said. "So we have to still feel pretty good, that in spite of the difficulties, we have the opportunity that we have and be grateful to the SBP and the PBA and the other basketball entities for making this happen."
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