CEBU CITY – Gilas Pilipinas is heading back to unfamiliar territory for its training ground as the national team will be heading to Europe prior to the start of the Fiba Olympic qualifying meet this July in Manila.
Coach Tab Baldwin put emphasis on the urgent need to have the nationals train overseas once the ongoing PBA Commissioner’s Cup is over to get down to the serious business of preparing against France and the rest of the field in the qualifier which Manila will host from July 5-10.
“We got some plans in place. We’re still awaiting confirmation on those so we’re not revealing where we’re going and who we’re going to be playing,” said the American-New Zealander coach.
“We’re looking to go to Europe, in a camp environment for 7-10 days and get some games while we’re there. Come back here and hopefully, get a game or two.”
Baldwin flew over to this southern city on Tuesday afternoon to visit the Sacred Heart School-Ateneo de Cebu and foster better school and alumni relations. The national coach also happens to be the new mentor of the Ateneo Blue Eagles.
Back in the place where Gilas held camp right before the Fiba Asia Men’s Championship last year, Baldwin held nothing but fond memories of the team’s week-long stay in Lapu-Lapu City, where he felt the team bond the most.
“It was beneficial for sure. We started out with training that was supposed to be in isolation and ended up playing in front of thousands of people,” recalled Baldwin of the experience.
“It wasn’t just basketball. It was a chance for them to relate as people and not just as players. That’s really important in a national team because by right, all of these guys are outstanding basketball players. And the subjugation of the ego is something important that needs to take place.”
The 57-year-old veteran mentor though, all but ruled out a training camp in Cebu for Gilas this time around.
“I don’t know if we’ll have the time this year. It’s a very tight time frame and we need to get over to Europe, get some games in,” Baldwin said.
“So I don’t know how much time that will leave us to have a camp but if ever we do, I think Cebu will be at the top of the list because of the success that we had and the hosting of the people here was memorable.”