THE sacrifices for the 16-man Gilas Pilipinas pool is not just limited to the hardcourt.
Jet lag is now the biggest enemy for the national players on their way to Estonia, where they will be based for the next six days for training, scrimmages and tuneup matches.
The nationals left Manila at around 7 p.m. on Monday, a few hours after their last heavy practice at the Meralco Gym. No wonder the players spent the 11 hours and 15 minutes on the flight from Manila to Istanbul, Turkey mostly fast asleep.
“We were so tired. All of us. The practices have not been that easy. It’s crazy, so everyone on the plane were asleep for the duration of the flight,” said Gilas center Asi Taulava.
They Said It!
“Don't get me wrong but this team might be the better Gilas team. Let's not lose hope, nandiyan ang outside shooting ni Jimmy, Romeo, Hontiveros at Ranidel de Ocampo. We have the tireless hussle of Abueva and the inside presence of Thoss and Asi, and of course Andray Blatche the game changer. This team packs a solid punch, not to mention they are willing to give it their all for our flag." - Jhun Liwanag
Arriving in Istanbul, Gilas coach Tab Baldwin advised all of the players to stay awake so they won’t have problems dealing with the time zone once they get to their final destination.
“Coach Tab told us to stay awake,” said Taulava while on a six-hour layover in Turkey. “We have to adjust immediately because we’ll have a very tight schedule in Estonia.”
Form Turkey, the Gilas team will take another three-hour flight to Tallinn airport.
“When we arrive there, we will no longer sleep. We are advised to just walk around and wait for the night,” said Taulava. “We will rest for the rest of the day there, then we go back to practice the next morning."
The Philippine five will play in a pocket tournament in Estonia, their first tournament since being formed last July 29, against the host country including European teams the Netherlands and Iceland, starting Thursday.
The Estonia trip is part of the Gilas’ preparations for the coming Fiba Asia championships, a 2016 Rio De Janeiro Olympics qualifier, in Changsha, China set from September 23 to October 3.