GILAS Pilipinas’ squad for the Fiba Asia Cup had a reality check on Thursday night when it found the young Southeast Asian Games team a tough nut to crack in their controlled scrimmage in practice at the Meralco gym.
The veteran-loaded squad for the Asian championships had to lean on a free throw by Raymond Almazan to hack out a win and avoid an upset to the SEA Games team in the virtual tune-up game at the latter part of training.
The SEA Games, though, had Filipino-German slotman Christian Standhardinger, who's also part of the Fiba Asia Cup squad, as part of its unit.
“As you can see, the Fiba Asia team, sa SEA Games team nahihirapan eh, ‘di ba?” national coach Chot Reyes said after practice. “Can you imagine if that’s China, ‘di ba? What’s the result going to be?”
The Filipino dribblers open their campaign against China next Wednesday, before taking on Iraq two days later, and Qatar two days after that in Group B play.
“Like I always keep saying, we got to work with what we have,” Reyes said as he missed Jayson Castro and June Mar Fajardo in practice. “We didn’t play in the scrimmage the players who have games tomorrow, so we rested some of the guys, and those who are not playing tomorrow were the ones we played in the scrimmage.”
“As you can see, we’re very, very far from being in competitive shape,” he added. “All we can do is really to make the best of what we have and have fun. We’ll just try our best.”