JVEE Casio said a big reason for the success the first iteration of Smart Gilas was international competitions, and he hopes the current Gilas Pilipinas pool would have the more overseas exposure.
"It's good to see them playing together with each other and hopefully do that for a couple of years, but the disadvantage is they're not playing more games outside of the country. If they do that, they will gain more experience and be exposed to the opponents they'll have in international competitions," he told Spin Sidelines on the Calamansi app on Friday.
This Gilas pool was actually supposed to hold overseas trainings since last year, with trips to United States, Australia, and New Zealand on the table before the global COVID-19 pandemic derailed those plans.
Casio certainly knows what he's talking about, being one of the pillars of the Rajko Toroman-coached national team which represented the country from 2009 to 2011.
Smart Gilas was a win away from earning a spot in the 2012 London Olympics but finished at fourth place in the 2011 Fiba Asia Championship in Wuhan.
Learning from that foray, the Alaska guard noted that there's a big diffrence when teams compete internationally starting in the continental level.
"It's not easy to play international basketball," he said.
Nonetheless, Casio sees a lot of similarities with his group and the current squad supervised by Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) program director Tab Baldwin.
"I can see yung familiarity. Ibang bagay pa rin if you have a coach who has a set system. And seeing our players, very talented and very skillful naman sila. Kailangan lang talaga is a program and meron naman and they've been working. I think what's important is to support that," he said.
"And crucial din dyan is yung continuity. Nandoon na tayo with the players who are learning and understanding the system set, so hopefully, ma-sustain at ma-improve pa natin yun sa international level."
Casio also pointed out that if the current Gilas pool will indeed callup professional players, it's a must for those to embrace the system installed and not just be there as a mere add-on.
"If they will add a reinforcement, maybe a PBA player or any other, he will have to spent time with the team," he said, harking back to how guys like Jimmy Alapag, Ranidel de Ocampo, and Asi Taulava, just to name a few, did in the early 2010s.
Casio is confident with the youthful Gilas Pilipinas pool, with the team expected to be bannered by Kai Sotto and naturalized center Ange Kouame come the 2023 Fiba World Cup.
That's the biggest reason why he's looking forward to what the team will do in the third window of the 2021 Fiba Asia Cup qualifiers in Clark from June 16 to 20.
"They will be ready. They have great promise and makikita natin yan sa upcoming games nila," he said. "It's a good start para mag-build pa tayo to be more competitive in the international level."
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