Gallinari and Co. test Gilas readiness for Olympic qualifier in Italy pocket tournament
The Italy matches will be Gilas' only taste of tournament competition before the Philippines hosts the Olympic Qualifying Tournament next month. Jerome Ascano

GiLAS Pilipinas gets a feel of tournament competition for the first and only time before the Olympic Qualifying Tournament in Manila when it plays in a four-nation pocket tournament in Italy starting Saturday.

The Filipinos play the host team in their initiial outing in the meet that also features fellow Olympic hopeful Canada and outright qualifier China, which clash in the day's other featured match.

First-day winners and losers then face off in the crossover phase on Sunday.

[See Who's in, who's out? Baldwin set to make final Gilas cut]

Andray Blatche and Co. can expect to have their hands full against the host team, two-time Olympic silver medalists which will parade a lineup that has three NBA players in Danilo Galinari, Andrea Bargnani, Marco Belinelli.

Both Manila and Italy incidentally, are hosts to two of three simultaneous qualifiers - the other one in Serbia - to be played from July 5-10 to determine the final three qualifiers for the 2016 Rio De Janeiro Olympics.

The pocket tournament caps the national team's three-week training camp in Europe that saw the Filipinos spend nine days in the mountains of Kapernisi, Greece, before travelling to Istanbul to play a tune-up with Turkey, which they lost, 103-68.

On Sunday, Gilas coach Tab Baldwin will announce the final 12-man lineup for the qualifier after which, the team returns to Manila the following day.

Follow the writer on Twitter: @gerardmos