BATANG Gilas coaches are confident they have assembled the 'best team possible 'for the Fiba Under-17 Basketball World Cup in Argentina.
National team assistant coach Josh Reyes expressed optimism that after weeks of preparation, Batang Gilas has put together a pool of players who he believes belongs to the best in their age group.
Carl Tamayo, Gerry Abadiano, Migs Pascual, and Bismark Lina were added to the Batang Gilas pool, joining Kai Sotto, Forthsky Padrigao, RC Calimag and other members of the team that reached the semifinals of the Fiba Asia Under-16 Championship.
“We are cautiously optimistic. I think we have formed the best possible talent in this age group. We will see,” Reyes said on Monday during a send-off held at Bar One in Quezon City.
The team leaves for Argentina on June 21 for the Fiba Under-17 Basketball World Cup slated from June 30 to July 8 in Rosario and Santa Fe.
The tournament, however, will not be easy for the Batang Gilas squad as they are joined by European powerhouses France and Croatia along with host Argentina in the group.
Still, Reyes the team is bound to benefit while playing against the best in the world.
“We can finally gauge our skill level against the best in the world and that’s the goal. At least, we are playing the best in the world,” Reyes said.
With 7-foot-1 Sotto and the 6-foot-7 Tamayo at the forefront, the Philippines will finally have the height to match up against the world's top teams. But it remains to be seen how the youngsters will fare against the best in the world.
“Size-wise, we won’t be much of a disadvantage. But size will not always return into success. It’s still up to the players,” said Reyes.