COMING off the high of winning the 2016 PBA D-League Foundation Cup title with Phoenix, Mike Tolomia and Mac Belo are tempering expectations ahead of their campaign with Gilas Pilipinas in the Fiba Asia Challenge Cup.
Tolomia, the Foundation Cup MVP, is excited to see action in the September 9-18 showcase in Iran but at the same time set modest goals for himself and Gilas 5.0 given the situation the team is in.
"Wala naman akong ine-expect na mangyari sa Iran kasi first time ko sa Fiba Asia," said Tolomia of a Gilas squad that has been left without top young cagers like Ray Parks, Kiefer Ravena, and Jio Jalalon, to name a few.
Belo shared the same sentiment, adding that they have to work harder to make up for the lack of ceiling.
"Hindi naman kami ganun katangkad, so kailangan namin i-double effort namin," he said.
"It's time to focus, kasi sa sistema ni coach Josh (Reyes) talagang kailangan rin naman mabilisan at kailangan mag-click depensa namin," Belo added.
Joining the two cagers in the Iran showpiece are Gilas Cadets mainstays Kevin Ferrer, Roger Pogoy, Russel Escoto, and Von Pessumal.
Also part of the final 12 are new Gilas boys Ed Daquioag, Chris Javier, CJ Perez, Ponso Gotladera, Carl Bryan Cuz, and Arnold Van Opstal.
Almond Vosotros, the lone pro in the fold, and Jonathan Grey were listed as reserves.