KEVIN Ferrer and his Gilas teammates are aware of the criticism that have surrounded the young side since they were put together for the Fiba Asia Challenge Cup.
They're out to prove their doubters wrong.
"Oo (motivated kami) kasi underdog sinasabi sa amin, marami negative comments. Challenge sa amin na i-prove na mali yung iniisip nila," said Kevin Ferrer at the end of a tune-up game on Monday at the Moro Lorenzo Sports Center inside the Ateneo campus.
Ferrer is one of the leaders of this new edition of the national team, which is without a single PBA player in its lineup and has been hit by the unavailability of amateur standouts Kiefer Ravena, Rayray Parks and Jio Jalalon.
The young team has struggled against collegiate teams in tuneups leading to the September 9-18 tournament in Iran, but Ferrer said he continues to trust the process.
When push comes to shove, the former University of Santo Tomas star is confident the team can get its act together, more so while playing with the Philippine tri-color on its chest.
"Okay lang naman na sabihing bata. Andun naman process, step by step. naman. Di naman kami naglalaro lang as individuals, country irerepresent namin. Extra work kami."
Despite the short preparation time, the Gilas gunner said the youngsters are slowly gaining steam.
"Nasa 80-90 percent na kami. Pero malaki pa kailangan i-work para makipagsabayan sa next level," said Ferrer after the team's 69-63 win over Ateneo in a tuneup game.
"Basta samin, maglalaro kami as a team. Bibigay namin puso namin sa laro. Bibigay 100 percent para sa country."