GILAS Pilipinas Chot Reyes has already accepted the fact that he won’t have a complete team and daily practices until the squad arrives in Chinese-Taipei for the third window of the 2019 Fiba World Cup Asian qualifiers.
“Wala na. Tinanggal ko na sa isip ko 'yang preparation eh. That’s a dream. We’ve taken the word ‘preparation’ out of our vocabulary,” Reyes said on Thursday, relaying the news.
Gilas departs for Taiwan on June 25 and Reyes says that it’s only there — four days away from the Taipei game — where the national will have the chance to practice outside its usual Monday-only training.
“When we get to Taipei, that’s the first practice we’ll have as a full team. We’ll have daily, meaning four days, pracices before we face Chinese Taipei,” Reyes said.
Naturalized player Andray Blatche arrived on Saturday for the team’s buildup, but his training is limited to joining early morning workouts with TNT as Gilas continues to struggle getting a complete attendance for its weekly sessions.
Reyes knows that he’s left with no more choice but to make the most out of the situation.
“We’re just making do with what we have. You know, we’d love to have more time but the realities don’t afford us that luxury. Kapag kausap ko na lang yung players, nag-uusap na lang kami na bale-bale na lang ito,” he said.
The Philippines is already qualified for the second round of the qualifiers with its 3-1 card in Group B. After the Taipei trip, Gilas comes home to host Australia at the Philippine Arena on July 2 to round out the pool play.
Reyes knows that more than sweeping the next series, the purpose of these next games is to have a better position heading to the next phase, where spots in the 2019 Fiba World Cup in China are up for grabs.
“This last window is all about improving our position in the next round,” he said. “We’re not even thinking about the fact na we’re qualified, but rather, we’re thinking of moving deeper in the competition. That’s how important these next two games are cause it’s going to improve our standings going deeper in the qualifiers.”