TAB Baldwin eyes no later than August 1 as the start of Gilas Pilipinas’ training camp, hoping to whip the national squad into fighting form in a short span of time for the Fiba-Asia men’s championships in Changsa, Hunan, China on September.
Baldwin said the program has long been in place, but the Gilas coaching staff won't be able to implement it until the end of the PBA Governors Cup sometime in the third week of July.
“I’m complete from where I am. The player pool is already selected. Now, it’s just a matter of when the camp will start, which will be determined when the third conference will finish,” Baldwin told Spin.ph.
“But we’ll start (training camp) the latest on August 1, or hopefully, we can start a few days before that.”
The Fiba-Asia showpiece, which begins on September 23, serves as the qualifying tournament for the 2016 Rio Olympics in Brazil. The Asian champion earns a slot in the Olympics.
The Philippines is bidding to make a grand return to the Summer Games since its last appearance in the 1972 Munich Games in Germany.
Baldwin, a four-time National Basketball League Coach of the Year in New Zealand, intends to give the national pool members enough time to rest shortly after the Governors Cup, before kicking off the training camp.
“When the players finish (playing in the Governors Cup), players will be given an undetermined amount of time off. The earlier it (Governors Cup) finishes, the more time off we can give them,” explained Baldwin.
The 57-year-old Gilas coach said the initial part of the training camp kicks off in Manila, before going deep in its preparation somewhere in Europe.
“We will start out in the Philippines, then, we will head probably in Europe. We’re still finalizing,” added Baldwin, who was named to succeed Chot Reyes late last year.
The list of the national pool has 26 names, headed by reigning league MVP June Mar Fajardo and 2013 Fiba-Asia men’s championship best guard Jayson Castro, which was already submitted to the PBA two months ago.
But by the time Gilas leaves for Europe, the list will be whittled down to just 16, according to Baldwin.
“We will cut them (list of players in the pool) down probably to 16.”