AWAY from their families and loved ones, Gilas Pilipinas spent Father’s Day the way it had been doing the past one week – work and training.
“Dito lang kami, practice pa rin and training,” said veteran playmaker LA Tenorio from the Gilas training camp in Kapernisi, Greece, when asked what the team did to celebrate the day when fathers – and fatherhood – are honored all over the world.
The national team is in the final days of its week-long camp in the remote area in the central part of Greece where it has been holed up since last week as it prepares for the Manila leg of the Olympic Qualifying Tournament three weeks from now.
So far, Tenorio, the most veteran player in the backcourt rotation of coach Tab Baldwin, said the time spent together has made Gilas an even more cohesive unit than before.
“Maganda ang improvement ng team compare nung bago kami umalis,” he noted.
And that could even be enhanced once Gilas starts playing against other teams, starting with its tune-up match against Turkey in Istanbul this week, followed by a pocket tournament in Bologna, Italy, where it competes against the host country, Canada, and Olympic-bound China.
The 31-year-old Barangay Ginebra point guard observed how Gilas has been improving everyday as a team, which he expects to reach peak form in time for the July 5-10 qualifiers at the Mall of Asia Arena.
“Maganda ang tinatakbo ng team. Everyday, we’re improving,” he said. “Madami na kaming na-cover na mga dapat namin iimprove.”
Such is not lost in the eyes of coach Baldwin, who’s more than satisfied with what he’s been seeing at the camp the past few days.
“The guys have been good students of the game to this point,” noted Baldwin on his Twitter account@Hob1111 as the entire team had a short meeting prior to Saturday’s practice.
“Gilas boys impressive in practice. Effort and attention on point. Still much to do,” he said in an earlier tweet. “Turkey on the 21st will be more lessons for us.”
As per schedule, the team will be leaving on Monday for Greece, about four to five hours away from the capital of Athens, where Gilas takes the flight out for Istanbul.