WITH a loaded next few months at hand, Gilas Pilipinas is looking to resume its training bubble at Inspire Sports Academy in Calamba by mid-March.
Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) executive director Sonny Barrios told Radyo5's Power and Play with Noli Eala that the national team pool is planning to stage another training bubble as it prepares for three tough tournaments from June to August.
"Magba-bubble training ulit sila sa Inspire. Sa ngayon, by being together, I believe they will resume mid-March," he said on Saturday as Gilas looks ahead to the third window of the 2021 Fiba Asia Cup qualifiers in Clark come June, the Fiba Olympic Qualifying Tournament in Belgrade set in July, and the 2021 Fiba Asia Cup in Indonesia in August.
Barrios said he expects the same pool that came together in February to be back with Gilas for the new camp.
Those include Isaac Go, Rey Suerte, and twins Matt and Mike Nieto, all of whom were part of the first wave of the special Gilas draft from the 2019 class, as well as collegiate standouts Justine Baltazar, Dwight Ramos, brothers Juan and Javi Gomez de Liano, Dave Ildefonso, and Kemark Carino.
Even players who declared for the draft are also poised to be brought back, namely William Navarro and Jaydee Tungcab, both of whom are in this year's special Gilas round, and Calvin Oftana.
"Sa ngayon, sabi nga nila we're playing with the cards that are dealt to us. We have the young guys who are joining the PBA draft and also them who are seeded in the pool and coach Tab and his crew are working with them," he said.
It's also highly likely that Jordan Heading and Tzaddy Rangel, who were the other two members of the special Gilas round this year, will also be brought in.
Barrios added that aside from the training bubble, one of the things the SBP is studying is to expose the pool to competitions internationally, which was part of the original plans for 2020 before the COVID-19 pandemic struck.
"They're also looking at possibility of going abroad. Ang kulang sa preparation yung competition. Di naman pwedeng scrimmage lang ng scrimmage. Yun ang tinitignan nila coach Tab and coach Jong," he said.
Barrios said that the SBP and the PBA are still in constant communication on how to make things work, but right now, it's all discussions especially with the pro league looking to start its 2021 Philippine Cup in April.
"It's too early to say kung paano ang participation ng PBA players. Hindi ganoon kadali magsira ng schedule, pero the PBA has been very supportive," he said.
Among those invited in the February training camp were Kiefer Ravena, CJ Perez, Roger Pogoy, Troy Rosario, Justin Chua, and Raul Soyud.
"Yung mix ng PBA, when they get there, hopefully magkaroon ng pagkakataon na ma-weave in yung mga PBA players na makakatulong sa endeavor natin pero hinay-hinay lang. They know the value of OQT to us, so they will work out an acceptable formula," said Barrios.