THE Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas believes Gilas Pilipinas can cope with the limited buildup time ahead of the Fiba Asia Championship that unfolds on September 23 in China.
The SBP said Tuesday it is deferring the announcement of the national team lineup until Monday, leaving the squad with less than two months to prepare for the continental qualifying tournament for next year’s Rio de Janeiro Olympics.
“Hindi naman too late,” SBP executive director Sonny Barrios said in the Philippine Sportswriters Association Forum. “It may be not that ideal. But Filipinos are known to rise to the challenge of adversity.”
Names that are expected to be part of pool have cropped up, while the staff of coach Tab Baldwin has already been set, with Barrios rattling off Jong Uichico, Norman Black, Nash Racela, Josh Reyes, and Jimmy Alapag as the American-Kiwi mentor’s assistants.
Gilas, drawn in relatively light Group B with Palestine, Kuwait, and either Hong Kong or Mongolia, was expected to begin practice and tryouts on Wednesday night but that, too, has been postponed pending the announcement of the members of the new pool.
“I live by this credo: Let’s appreciate the half-filled portion of the glass rather than lament over the half-empty one,” Barrios said.
“Tinatrabaho ’yun. Konting pasensya na lang at makakabuo rin ng pool ’yan somehow,” he added.
Barrios, though, admitted Baldwin won’t get all the players in his wish list.
“We should be realistic,” the SBP official said. “He has to deal with the cards he’s dealt with.”
As it is, former Gilas starting guard LA Tenorio has begged off from the pool citing fatigue and poor form while Marc Pingris of Star and league MVP June Mar Fajardo of San Miguel are doubtful due to varying reasons.
But Barrios is optimistic Baldwin can make do with the lineup that will he will eventually have, citing former coach Chot Reyes’ predicament in the past where he didn’t get Marcio Lassiter and Greg Slaughter, but still steered the squad to the World Cup.
“Coach Chot brought us to the world level, but he did not get his ideal lineup,” Barrios said. “Marcio and Greg attended the first practice, then begged off. Pero okay lang. Ganun ang sitwasyon at reality.”