Mike Oliver says battling former PBA, D-League players will help Batang Gilas prepare for Fiba Asia U16
Soulemane Chabi Yo showed the way as R. Lapid's/Tito Rex beat the Batang Gilas Under-16 squad.

BATANG Gilas head coach Mike Oliver says despite absorbing losses, the squad will learn a lot in the Marikina City Basketball League featuring veteran players.

Oliver says seeing action against players who have suited up in the PBA and PBA Developmental League will help the team prepare for the taller and bulkier opponents in the FIBA Asia Under-16 Championship.

"Very important itong ligang ito para sa preparations natin. This will be one of the last two tournaments na lang na pwede natin salihan bago mag FIBA Asia," said Oliver.

"Dito natin makikita kung ano ang kulang natin sa system na nira-run natin at the same time makita natin mga kailangan pa nating i-develop offensively and defensively."

In the team's last outing, Batang Gilas lost, 83-77, to a R. Lapid's/Tito Rex side led by Soulemana Chabi Yo of the West African country Benin.

Six-foot-11 Kai Sotto was not cleared by Ateneo to play in the commercial league, but was given an assurance that he will be released for the Fiba Asia tournament.

Without Sotto, the Batang Gilas squad had to rely on its other key players led by mainstays RC Calimag, Renz Padrigao and MacLaud Guadana among others.

Oliver is satisfied with the way how his team was able to push its more experienced counterparts to the limit and maximizing its main weapons needed in international tournaments.

"Offensively we have firepower from the outside and that's one of the most important things in Fiba tournaments. The only way we can beat other countries will be our speed and outside shooting," said Oliver.



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